Commission approves cuts in city health services

Written by FCJ Editor. Posted in News

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Published on March 05, 2008 with 1 Comment

By Ari Burack

March 5, 2008

The San Francisco Health Commission yesterday approved budget cuts to city health services, in an effort to trim down the city’s estimated $233 million budget deficit.

The health commission convened to take public comment and vote on more than $1.2 million in proposed reductions this year, affecting services at San Francisco General Hospital, home nursing and mental health clinics.

Dozens of nurses, other health care providers and administrative staff from city hospitals and clinics rallied outside the Grove Street hearing in protest of the proposed cuts.

The controversial cuts come on the heels of Mayor Gavin Newsom’s request that the Health Department reduce its general fund budget by $28 million over the remaining fiscal year and the upcoming fiscal year.

The health department, with a yearly budget of approximately $1.2 billion, has the largest general fund budget of any city agency.

Among the cuts approved were reducing operating room hours for elective surgeries at San Francisco General Hospital, which is expected to increase wait times for the procedures, while prioritizing surgeries for trauma, emergencies, cancer, children and in house patients, according to the Health Department. There will also be cuts of 15 percent at the administrative level of the department, spokeswoman Eileen Shields said.

Also approved were: a reduction in the operating hours of the hospital’s outpatient oral surgery clinic; the elimination of the city’s Chronic Care Public Health Nursing Program; and management restructuring at the city’s mental health clinics, which is not expected to impact service to clients, according to the Health Department.

A final approved cut was the closure of Buster’s Place, a Mission District center providing drop-in services, counseling and referrals for homeless residents.

The budget cuts will now be forwarded to the mayor’s office and the Board of Supervisors for approval.

Further reductions are to be considered in the coming weeks in order to attempt to meet the mayor’s target, according to Health Department officials.

1 Comment

Comments for Commission approves cuts in city health services are now closed.

  1. I find no record of the vote at the Health Commission website – no minutes of yesterday’s meeting.

    Was the vote unanimous? Anyone vote against the cuts?