Cuts and layoffs coming to Jackson County Health Department - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Cuts and layoffs coming to Jackson County Health Department

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JACKSON COUNTY, Ill. -- Health officials discussed massive cuts to the Jackson County Health Department during a board meeting Wednesday night. 

Those cuts could affect three programs within the department and throughout multiple counties. 

The Jackson County Board of Health decided to cut two of the three programs. 

One of the programs helps kids in foster care receive the care they need.

The other checks in on health facilities and the way they administer vaccines. 

With these cuts comes layoffs and a potential impact to patients. 

"Anytime you have to lose a staff member is gut wrenching," Jackson County Health Department Administrator Sarah Patrick said. 

Tension grew as the county board of health had to make the decision on what to do to fill a $95,000 hole in the health department's budget. 

"The amount that we get for these different programs hasn't paid their full cost," Patrick said. 

During the two-and-a-half hour meeting Wednesday night, the board decided they would cut two programs because of the lack of funding. 

"We have used other sources of funds to try and bridge the gap," Patrick said. 

The board cut Vaccines for Children Compliance Check Program, a service checking in on clinics and how they are storing their vaccines. 

The Jackson County Health Department visits clinics in Franklin, Perry, Williamson, Union, Randolph counties on top of their own.

Patrick says that none of those counties' health departments pay for that program.

They also cut Health Works, a program that connects kids in foster care to the care they need. 

Patrick says this will lead at least 4 employees being laid off. 

"So now we need to look and make sure we have all the core public health functions covered and what would those jobs look like with the news paid down programming being offered," Patrick said. 

The third program on the chopping block was Family Case Management. This is a service for pregnant women and infants dealing with a difficult time during child birth. 

Children can be categorized as "high risk" or "standard" case groups depending on their situation. 

The board gave the reasoning for not cutting this program because it's one of the only of its kind in the area and is funded by Medicaid instead of state or federal grants. 

Patrick says the Jackson County Health Department isn't the only health department in the state suffering due to the lack of funding from the state and federal government. 

"There are other health departments asking what are you doing and how are you getting through the dollars that are not getting covered," Patrick said. 

Both programs being cut will be terminated on June 30, before the start of next fiscal year. 

The services will go back in the hands of the state and they will have the decision if they continue in southern Illinois. 

Patrick says the employees being laid off will be allowed to stay until the services are discontinued. 

Click here to visit the Jackson County Health Department's website.

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