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Health departments could lose substantial federal funding
The sequestration cuts will affects thousands of Americans who rely on certain services. That includes here in Nebraska. News 5 continues our look at the local impacts of the federal sequestration.
The state of Nebraska would lose thousands of dollars in funds for public health programs. Without the funds, services offered around the area could be cut.
"I can't say I have any idea whether it will affect us in the near future or in the long term," said Southern Heartland District Health Department Executive Director Michele Bever.
The federal sequester will cut around $174,000 in funds for public health problems in the state of Nebraska.
The Central District Health Department in Grand Island receives over one million dollars a year in federal funds. They're not alone.
The South Heartland District Health Department in Hastings receives about $375,000 in funds per year.
Neither department knows how much money would be cut.
"If we lose that it means loss of program capacity and potentially loss of staff," said Bever.
What programs thrive with those federal funds?
"For us going forward its obesity, mental health, substance abuse, cancer and access to health care," Bever said.
They also help communities in emergencies.
"For example a number of years ago when we had ice storms and hail and flooding. We were prepared to go out to communities like Kenesaw and go door to door and ask about flooded water in their basements and talk about mold issues," said Bever.
More than half the budget for the South Heartland Distrcit Health Department comes from federal dollars.
Just under half of the budget comes from federal dollars for the Central District Health Department. It goes towards supplemental nutrition programs, public health emergency programs, healthy works programs and more.
"Doesn't just impact us in our work ,but it impacts all of our partners and our ability to help our communities address those problems and to meet the needs of the communities we need that support," said Bever.
Ryan King with the Central District Heatlh Department says the last few years the public health departments has had cuts. Both departments say the federal funding is essential to their programs.
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