Bay County Health Department Budget Cuts Could Mean Longer Wait Times

By: Sandra Osborne Email
By: Sandra Osborne Email

Panama City- According to Bay County Health Department officials, the state is forcing a 22% percent budget cut on the Health Department, which will have a direct impact on patient services.

"We provide a quality service in the community and it's painful to know we've been impacted that way. Sooner than later, it will affect the core public services we provide," said Sandon Speedling, of the Health Department.

Speedling says these cuts are happening at the worst time, when people need them the most.

"There are great demands already on the clinic in the amount of services we provide on a daily basis. With the economy the way it is people's healthcare on the fore front of issues. Our clinic is used more and more."

The cuts will affect several different services, like the Disease Management Investigation Team.

"A lot of times, we won't have staff to go out and investigate as much and cases pile up on you. You have to prioritize," said Doug Kent of the Health Department.

The cuts will also impact the overall staff size.

"Right now, out of 20 positions, we've eliminated most of this through attrition and changes and now we're going through re-assignment of departments," said Kent.

Less staff means less attention on you, the patient.

"Making a prompt appointment for an individual that might have wanted to be seen in a week rather than having it postponed to a three week period," said Speedling.

Chances are, you’ll probably have to wait longer, once you arrive at the clinic.

"We've lost people. We're making adjustments and we're doing the best we can with what we have," said Kent.

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