BEATRICE – A public health district providing services in five southeast Nebraska Counties is experiencing a funding reduction this year.
Public Health Solutions, serving Saline, Gage, Jefferson, Thayer and Fillmore Counties, has been affected to the tune of about $300,000.
:24 “from us”
Jane Ford-Witthoff is Health Director for Public Health Solutions. The funding redirected toward the fight against the Zika virus translated into a reduction in funds for a program by P-H-S to place automated defibrillator units throughout the health district and help finance training on the units.
Ford-Witthoff says as part of the health district’s planning process, the district will be undertaking a community health needs survey.
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Speaking before Gage County Board members this week, Ford-Witthoff said it appears there’s a shift in state budget policy not to account for federal grants the state is eligible for, until there is cash on hand.
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County Supervisor Dennis Byars served as a state lawmaker when the public health system was being created, through the use of a portion of tobacco company lawsuit settlement funds the state received.
Ford-Witthoff suspects there is a lack of awareness about the role of public health.
:26 “well spent, there”
The director says the district appreciates the support provided by counties, but adds much time is spent writing grant applications to find support.
Public Health Solutions, based in Crete, this past year established an office in Beatrice at the Southeast Community College Campus.