State Budget Cuts Pose Risk To Public Health

Several local public health programs, including those dealing with infant mortality, restaurant inspections and poison control, face elimination or reduction due to state budget cuts.

The latest round of cuts is an “affront to public health,” said Cathy Raevsky, administrative health officer for the Kent County Health Department. Even the county’s immunization program for low-income children could be curtailed if more cuts are forthcoming, she said.

“At some point — we’re not there now — we’re just not going to have the staff to give them (immunizations),” Raevsky said. “The demand will outpace our capacity.”

Along with many other agencies that rely on state funding — including schools, veterans’ programs, police and city services — the county health department is feeling the squeeze of an executive order signed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm earlier this month, cutting $300 million from the current state budget.

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