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Possible layoffs and clinic closures loom for Public Health Seattle-King County

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Courtesy Public Health Seattle-King County

SEATTLE —  A $15-million hole in the budget has King County Public Health considering closing four of its regional health centers and transferring primary care serves away from two others.

“We’ve run out of rabbits we can pull from our hat,” said Dr. David Fleming, Director and Health Officer for Public Health—Seattle & King County. “To operate with a balanced budget, we may be compelled to reduce staffing and services.”

Fleming called finances ‘precarious’ ever since voters repealed the major source of funding for Public Health 14 years ago, and a voter-approved cap on property taxes restricted the remaining source of local, flexible funding.

The public health centers on the chopping block include Auburn, Federal Way, Northshore in Bothell and Greenbridge in White Center.  We’re told while Northshore would close, one of its satellite clinics could remain open.

Centers in Columbia Center and North Seattle would see their primary care services transferred to other organizations like NeighborCare or Harborview/US Medicine in 2015.

Along with closures, Fleming said serves like disease investigation and tobacco and obesity prevention would likely see cuts.

Some 200 people could ultimately lose their jobs due to reductions in service and center closures.

The King County Executive will now consider the proposal and either accept it as part of his budget plan in the fall or reject it and ask for something different.  Ultimately, the King County Council will have to vote to approve or reject the cuts sometime in November.

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  • Ted

    Why is it we have more than enough money to dig a big useless hole, or should I say, not dig, but we can’t find a dime to help clinics that help the poor, the homeless, the vets, the elderly, and the sick…..shame on us. Good thing the guys doing the budget cuts were lucky enough to be born into a good family, this won’t effect them…..

  • The World is Ending

    Ok start throwing you daggers, rock and bad words now .. Call me uncaring and heartless… But how about stop treating people who are here illegally I bet that would save a few $$$$

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