Sequester cuts to affect Public Health Departments

By Alyssa Donovan

February 26, 2013 Updated Feb 26, 2013 at 10:35 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill.-- If sequestration goes into effect on Friday, the outcome will include severe cuts to Public Health Departments across Illinois.

Information from the White House shows the state will lose more than $4.5 million in Public Health funds. That includes $968,000 in emergency preparedness funds, $3.5 million in preventative substance abuse grants and $186,000 for HIV testing.

Peoria City/County Health Department's Greg Chance said the breadth of these cuts is very challenging for the entire health system.

Chance said, "I can appreciate at the national level the debate keeps focusing in on that it's only 3-percent of the federal budget, but here in Illinois, when we're talking about the severe economic challenges we're seeing at the state level and then to further add on challenges due to federal funding being cut back creates a dilemma."

Chance said some of the biggest concerns are in the area of public emergency preparedness.

Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Jason Marks said public health emergencies include large-scale food borne outbreaks, infectious disease outbreaks and disease outbreaks caused by natural disasters.

Marks said, "Over the course of the last several years we've built quite an infrastructure within the community to deal with health and medical preparedness emergencies. So a loss of funding could potentially set us back in the improvements we've made over the past several years.”

Area Officials said the cuts will be allocated by the Illinois Department of Health and it is difficult at this time to tell how steep the cuts will be in each county.

To submit a comment on this article, your email address is required. We respect your privacy and your email will not be visible to others nor will it be added to any email lists.