Budget Difficulties Lead To Tough Decisions At BCHD

In the recent Bond County Board of Health meeting, Health Department Administrator Sean Eifert reported an overall monthly gain of $120,467 for the health department in July. Eifert said the gain was due to the receipt of the department’s first tax payment. He noted the department continues to see a large volume of Medicare Advantage patients in home health, which has led to a decrease in cash in that fund. The department also has higher expenses than revenue in the mental health fund.

The board approved the department’s 2019 budget. Adjustments made for the new budget include changing some contracted services, asking for the maximum allowable levy from the county, changing billing practices, and scaling back staffing at the Prairie Counseling Center.

The board eliminated one counselor position at the center, based on seniority. On or before September 30, one psychiatrist position will also be eliminated.

Eifert told WGEL, “The board of health has been exploring options for alleviating the financial deficit in Prairie Counseling for quite some time. This decision was not an easy one, nor was it made hastily. But everyone is in agreement it was a necessary one to ensure the health department overall can continue to serve Bond County.”

In his report to the board, Eifert said monthly income targets will be established and further adjustments will be made if targets are not achieved. Eifert also reported the department’s crisis intervention grant will be monitored every month to determine if services are exceeding capacity. If they are, adjustments in the crisis program should be expected.

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