Dept. of Health Prepared for 7 Percent Budget Cut

The state Department of Health is proposing budget cuts for next year that go beyond the governor’s request for 5 percent reductions, reports Andrea Zelinski.
The agency is offering to hand back $40 million if budget realities require it, Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner told the governor during a hearing last week.
“While we fervently wish these reductions were not necessary to propose, our economy and lack of further sources of non-recurring funds suggest regrettably that they are,” Dreyzehner said.
Dreyzehner’s office is suggesting scaling the department’s current $566 million budget back 7 percent next year.
The bulk of the cuts, about $25 million, would come from a drop-off of federal and state one-time funding for programs such as those that address shaken baby syndrome, epilepsy, diabetes, smoking cessation, and breast and cervical cancer.
The rest would be made by eliminating unfilled positions, shifting around state and federal dollars and chipping away costs in other programs.
Dreyzehner said these cuts would pose the “least impact” but contends continuing to encourage Tennesseans to live healthy lifestyles with fewer funds will be more challenging.

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