Healthy Start officials say the organization could face budget cuts

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Budgets and babies are the focus for one government funded organization. Some employees of Healthy Start are concerned about possible budget cuts.

Healthy Start is a free program for women and children to help with some of their needs.

The organization educates parents and provides access to medical services.

"Currently, we are in the Senate for a cut in funding and the House has held us harmless, but we want to make sure that the Senate is aware of the importance of our program and that we really are vital to our community," Sharon Owens, Executive Director of Healthy Start said.

Officials say up to 30 percent of state funding is on the line, which could have a profound impact.

"For some of the small, rural areas, more even so rural than Panama City, it would probably be a devastation of care, where there wouldn't be any care available whereas that might be the only care that mom gets," Owens explained.

They're asking locals to reach out to state lawmakers before the legislative session ends and ask they keep the budget as is.

"The Senate is basically stating that we are a duplication of service for some managed care organizations. We work with them in partnership, but we are a completely separate service. We do home visits. We do prenatal care visits. We're in the OBGYN offices so we're meeting them where they're at," Owens said.

Healthy Start officials say many representatives in the House are not in favor of cutting the budget.