Emergency Health Cuts Notice
By Michael Lyon
SAVE PUBLIC HEALTH met last night and heard a report on a meeting
between the City unions, the Mayor’s Office, and the Department of Public
Health about the 2003-2004 budget. The Health Department had been ordered
by the Mayor's Office to submit two budgets.
The first was a "base" budget with $38 million in cuts, which was
supposed to produce the legally required balanced budget. Cuts in this
budget involved closing the Mental Health Rehabilitation Facility, severe
cuts to mental health and substance abuse services, and cutting the number
of SF General Hospital interpreters and Home Health aides in half. The San
Francisco Health Commission has already approved this budget and the cuts
The second was a "contingency" budget with an additional $27 million in
cuts, which would be used only if the City's budget shortfall increased
dramatically during the budget process itself. The Health Commission will
meet to consider the cuts in the contingency budget this Tuesday, March
18th, from 3 PM to probably 6 PM, at 101 Grove Street.
We now have found out the City has quite differrent intentions about
the Contingency Budget. The City's new plan is that:
1. The amount of the contingency cuts, over and above the $38 million
cuts already made in the Baseline Budget, is not an additional $27 million
in cuts, as previously announced. It is an additional $51 million in cuts.
2. The service cuts of the Contingency Plan are not just cutting all
eight Health Centers by 50% of their open hours, patient visits, and
staff, as announced. It also involves eliminating all day treatment from
Mental Health, eliminating all outpatient substance abuse treatment except
for methadone, and big reductions in Community Health Promotion and
Prevention programs, particularly HIV/AIDS, and Residential Treatment
3. The Contingency plan is not being set up as a back-up plan to hold
in reserve in case things get really bad in the future. As of now, the
City is planning to implement these “Contingency” cuts as part of the
regular 2003-2004 budget. This is not a case of “what-if.” This is what
they are planning to do if we don’t stop them.
The city is using “shock and awe” tactics against San Francisco
residents needing services and San Francisco workers providing services,
hoping we’ll roll over and play dead.
SAVE PUBLIC HEALTH urges everyone to protest these plans at the San
Francisco Health Commission meeting on Tuesday, March 18th, from 3 PM to
probably 6 PM. at 101 Grove St, near City Hall
SAVE PUBLIC HEALTH circulated a draft of
a letter which was later sent to Health Center Directors regarding the
plan to cut Health Center hours in half, as well as patient visits and
staff. After years of justifying hospitals cuts by saying emphasis on
prevention will make hospitalization less necessary, they are now
attacking preventative care. What will they say they are doing to justify
preventative care cuts? Care Not Cash? Mass sterilization?