As Mississippi lawmakers determine state agency budgets, one legislator is looking to reduce additional cuts to the state department of health.
The Mississippi Department of Health uses some of its budget to support clinics, HIV care and breast and cervical cancer programs. That's according to a letter written by State Health Officer, Dr. Mary Currier. Democratic Senator Bill Stone of Holly Springs, requested the letter for clarification on the impact of state agency cuts to the department of health. Currier notes the agency could face nearly 50 percent in cuts with the proposed decrease in it's appropriation for fiscal year 2017.
Senator Bill Stone.
"I had a lot of people coming to me with concerns about the health department budget and that actually the cuts being proposed for the health department were basically being compounded because of some required expenditures," said Stone.
Currier notes there is $2 million in their appropriations bill for healthcare expenditures. She writes an additional $5 million would make a tremendous difference in serving Mississippians. Republican House Speaker Pro Temp Greg Snowden of Meridian, says it's a challenge to come up with more funding.
"When the revenues are down to the extent they are. It's a challenge. So, I'm, hopeful we'll be able to give them the critical money that they need, but it certainly won't be what they can really use. I think we all recognize that," said Snowden.
Without the $5 million, Currier says the health department will have to begin drastic and immediate changes to the services it provides.