State budget crisis forces Kane County Health Department cuts

By on July 10, 2010

Kane County—Faced with an unprecedented and grim financial condition in Springfield, the Kane County Health Department (KCHD) will undergo a drastic staff reduction and departmental reorganization.

According to a statement released by the department, the KCHD relies on the state for between 40 and 50 percent of its total budget and currently the state owes KCHD $1.7 million for services the Health Department has already performed. This figure continues to grow daily. KCHD Executive Director Paul Kuehnert recommended that the Kane County Board decline to accept certain state grants that require it to perform services for which the state agrees to reimburse the department, because there is no guarantee the KCHD will receive the reimbursement. The mounting debt to the state’s universities, local public school districts, mental health providers and other service providers only serves to underscore the need to take this action.

“Through a combination of cuts to our grants and the state’s irresponsible business practices, this will be the third year in a row that the Health Department has been forced to cut staff and programs,” Kuehnert said. “The cash-flow situation is dire. Without taking swift action, we will not have enough money to operate as early as this fall. We cannot and will not sugarcoat this; it will be painful. We can no longer perform the services that are required by the grants in hopes that we may, some day, receive the money the state of Illinois owes us. We will have to re-organize in order to provide core public health services that will protect and promote the health of our community.”

The Health Department will see about a 40 percent cut in its budget. Because of this, the department will not be able to maintain the same staffing levels. The workforce will be reduced from 120 full-time-equivalent positions (FTE)s today to approximately 70 FTEs by mid-August. These cuts will mean that the Health Department will cease performing many services to residents while assuring core health protection services continue to be provided.

KCHD will continue to work with state officials in an attempt to transition any discontinued Health Department programs to other providers if possible.