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Medical News & Perspectives
November 9, 2011

Public Health Cuts Threaten Preparedness, Preventive Health Services

JAMA. 2011;306(18):1965-1966. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1623

Continuing cuts to local public health departments' budgets and staff, as well as proposed cuts to the US Prevention and Public Health Fund, are leading to reduced local preventive services and straining the ability of departments to respond to emerging crises, public health leaders and advocates say.

A new report from the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) found that nearly half of local public health departments cut staff in the first half of 2011 and more than half cut programs during the past year (http://tiny.cc/snu7t). The cuts compound previous losses to such agencies that have occurred in the years since the economic crisis began. Moreover, proposed cuts to the $15 billion in expected funding for prevention efforts included in the health care reform bill may further dampen planned prevention activities, warn more than 100 organizations, including clinician organizations and public interest groups.