Board of Health supports paying accreditation costs
By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on July 27, 2012 1:46 PM
The Board of Health this week voted to designate up to $3,000 to support the state accreditation program for 2012-13.
Health Director Davin Madden explained to the board that when the General Assembly approved a bill toward consolidation of human services, which also affects some health departments, it essentially eliminated funding for the accreditation.
At this point, Wayne County Health Department is not in jeopardy of having to merge with another agency, he said.
The issue at hand, though, is House Bill 438, which requires that health departments be accredited to be eligible for state and federal funding.
In the past, accreditation was required every four years but health departments that had not already done so could opt out. Sixty-four health departments across the state are currently accredited, including Wayne County, which earned the status in 2009.
"This new funding elimination strikes through the law, except for House Bill 438, which requires accreditation," Madden said.
He said that at a recent meeting of the association of health directors, the consensus was to support the accreditation budget this year for $300,000. Broken down, each health department would be asked to contribute approximately $3,000 for the program in the current fiscal year.
Madden said he had already discussed the proposal with Ken Stern, administrative officer, who handles health department finances.
"Things are tight for us as you all know but this is an important issue," Madden told the board.
"This accreditation is very important as I understand, to get us monies," said board member Tommy Gibson.
"Where would that $3,000 come from?" board member Robert Cagle asked.
"We just started the budget year the first of July so it's not in the budget," Stern replied. "We have to find that funding somewhere in the budget, whether there's some vacant position, unspent operations."
Dr. Kim Larson, board chairwoman, asked Stern how easy it would be to pull that amount together.
"If they want it next week, probably not," he said, explaining he was more confident about freeing up funds over the course of the year.
In the meantime, hopefully in the coming months, the state will be able to reconcile the issue, the health director said.
"I support the accreditation but I want to make sure the board supports it, too, because this is money we did not have in the budget," he said.