By: Emily Guiles
In the start of a new fiscal year Muskegon County Health Department head Kathy Moore has had to make many changes. In the previous fiscal year there were a lot of cuts made because of financial constraints. Because of the financial issues and cuts the Health Department has started to contract out instead of hiring within their own facilities.
The financial constraints and costs affiliated with the Health Department are increasing. Moore explains that Muskegon has a low economic base, which means fewer people are working and contributing to the taxes that help to fund the Health Department.
This situation, in large part, contributes to the Health Department’s financial problems. Since less people are working, even more citizens are in need of their services, but less people’s taxes are contributing to help fund the incoming patrons.
Moore stated that she feels that more time needs to be taken to create more opportunity in Muskegon County. Businesses in Muskegon county should also be focusing on qualifying those citizens in their community to do the jobs that they need done so that they can stop hiring outside of Muskegon County.
Moore also believes that a lack of positivity in the future has helped lead to the violence and crime that we see in Muskegon County today. Moore fears that if these issues aren’t addressed, Muskegon may become a ghost town.
Some other issues the Health Department is facing this and the prior fiscal year are Obama Care and the push to defund Planned Parenthood.
It has been difficult to wholly adapt to Obama Care because some patients lack insurance and if they refuse to sign up for insurance the Health Department sometimes has to turn them away. And if those patients without insurance are treated anyways it comes at a cost to the Health Department, who are already having financial strains.
While discussing the defunding of Planned Parenthood there was concern because most Planned Parenthoods in Muskegon County are well received and utilized. The Planned Parenthood in the Health Department offices is a separate entity than the Health Department, however they still are partnered in some fields.
Some of the Planned Parenthood facilities that have been shut down have redirected their clientele to the Planned Parenthood located in the Health Department, which puts strain on their resources and finances as well.
Recently Muskegon County Health Department has received State accreditations, and this fiscal year are striving to achieve national recognition.