Late last week, the state Legislature passed a final FY12 budget, which now awaits a signature from Governor Patrick. While there is some positive news from the Legislature, the threat of vetoes from the Governor pose a major risk to funding, and we need your help to tell Governor Patrick to support public health funding.
The Legislature’s budget would fund the Department of Public Health (DPH) community-based programs $28 million higher than proposed by Governor Patrick in his January budget proposal. The Governor has the power to veto or reduce individual lines items in the state budget before he signs it, and we expect that the Governor will consider significant reductions to the DPH budget.
The Legislature also passed a rider to the budget (Outside Section 197) that would amend the state’s smoke-free workplace law and forbid the state’s three largest cities – Boston, Worcester and Springfield – from banning cigar bars. Cigar bars glamorize smoking at a time when more Massachusetts youth smoke small flavored cigars and use smokeless products than smoke cigarettes, and we must protect the authority of our local public health officials to craft sound local tobacco policy. Last year, the Governor vetoed a similar provision.
Please take a few minutes to contact Governor Patrick today and tell him to support the DPH budget on his desk and to veto Outside Section 197. See below for more information about the DPH budget and programs at risk for funding reductions.
Governor Patrick can be reached at:
Email: Click here
Compared to the cost of maintaining services at last year’s levels, the Legislature’s budget would cut DPH funding slightly, by about 1%. However, the overall numbers mask several deeper cuts that are cause for concern. Click here to read more about how selected DPH programs fared in the budget.
We are particularly concerned about the threat of funding reductions from the Governor for these three programs, because the Legislature funded them significantly higher than the Governor’s budget proposal. If you care about these programs, please ask the Governor to support the funding levels in the Legislature’s budget:
- Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program (line item 4513-1002) at $12.4 m. WIC provides services to pregnant and parenting women and children under 5, including financial support to purchase food, nutritional information and consultations, health insurance, child care, housing and fuel assistance, and other services that can benefit the whole family. WIC is effective in protecting young children’s health and development, and according to Children’s Health Watch, every $1.00 spent on WIC results in savings of between $1.77 and $3.13 in health care costs in them first 60 days after an infant’s birth.
- Department of Public Health Essential Services (line item 4510-0100) at $15.9 m .Further cuts to this line item would result in a loss of up to 50 staff positions across DPH and would have a devastating impact to the services that DPH provides, including emergency preparedness, environmental health assessments, implementation and enforcement of regulations, reducing disparities in health care, and monitoring and inspections of nursing homes, food safety, and water quality. Funding has already been cut by over 20% in the past three years.
- Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (line item 4513-1111) at $3.5 m .This funding supports effective programs to improve community health and increase access to screening, outreach, and care coordination, which helps reduce health care costs and has a unique role in prevention that cannot be replaced by clinical services and health insurance coverage. These programs include cancer screening, stroke prevention, and state funding for Mass in Motion grants that are currently funding 14 communities as part of the state’s signature obesity-prevention initiative. Funding has already been cut by 60% in the last three years.
Lastly, we are concerned about possible funding reductions for these programs:
- Early Intervention Services (4513-1020) at $31.1m
- Family Health Services (4513-1000) at $4.6m
- School Health Services (4590-0250) at $11.6m
- Universal Immunization Program (4580-1000) at $51.3m
- HIV/AIDS Drug Program Manufacturer Rebates Retained Revenue (4512-0106) at $7.5m
- AIDS Prevention, Treatment, and Services (4512-0103) at $31.6m
- Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention and Treatment (4513-1130) at $5.5m
Thank you for your support of public health funding! For additional information, please contact Maddie Ribble at 617-524-6696 x111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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