Dept. of Health funding reduced by more than $130 million

(Cheyenne, Wyo.) - This morning at the Joint Appropriations Committee meeting, Governor Matt mean announced that beginning July 1, $248 million will be cut statewide along with 677 private sector layoffs. The greatest cut will be coming from the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) at $90 million, which is a 9.23 percent cut. Since the meeting, the Wyoming Department of Health has released a statement describing the agency’s planned budget reductions. The department will also lose an estimated $43.4 million in federal matching funds. As a result, the total expected reduction is approximately $133.4 million for the upcoming biennium. “There are clearly fewer dollars available and we must recognize the new reality,” said Tom Forslund, WDH director. “These budget reductions are unfortunate, but unavoidable. When state general funds are reduced in many of our programs, there is a corresponding loss of federal matching funds.” While most agencies were asked to reduce their general fund budgets by 8 percent, larger agencies were asked to reduce more. “When you consider that the WDH general fund budget is more than a third of the state’s total general fund budget, it helps explain the higher level of reductions we needed to make,” Forslund said. “Implementing budget reductions is always difficult and we know we are talking about effects on real people,” Forslund said. “There is no way reductions of this scale can be made without significant impacts on clients and providers in communities across the state.” Before making recommendations, WDH leadership said they carefully considered the entire budget based on several key principles: - Avoid across the board reductions - Distribute reductions throughout the agency - Reduce administrative costs where possible - Minimize impact on safety net services - Minimize impact on programs that provide services to a broader population vs. a narrower population - Minimize impact on vulnerable provider groups The reductions involve a mix of program eliminations, program adjustments, lowered reimbursement rates for various service providers, administrative savings and the elimination of numerous positions, mostly vacant, throughout the agency. Forslund noted the new reductions are in addition to the approximate $10 million in reductions made to the agency during the most recent legislative budget session. *Feature Photo: Tom Forslund, WDH director. Pitchengine Communities* #shortgo #county10 #county17 #reboot #buckrail #springcity #dally #oilcity #news