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Two Sedgwick Co. Health Programs Take Hit

Tom Magliery, flickr Creative Commons

Two community health programs in Sedgwick County could come to an end next year.

The county commissioners voted 3-2 on Wednesday to remove the programs from the health department’s state funding proposal for the fiscal year, beginning July 1.

KMUW’s Deborah Shaar has more.

The commissioners voted to cut the Chronic Disease Risk Reduction program and Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) from the health department’s grant proposal.

The chronic disease program targets tobacco usage while PREP provides sex education training to teachers in the Wichita school district.

Commissioner Tim Norton voted against removing the programs.

“I think it’s an ongoing quest to discuss public health with the masses," Norton says. "That’s what public health is all about, population health."

The state funding requires a local match, which Commissioner Karl Peterjohn says is not worth it, given the commissioners’ other priorities.

“I’m glad the state is involved in some of the key areas where the health department is operating, but my concern today is with the increase in the local spending side.”

The Sedgwick County Health Department will apply to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for $1.9 million in annual grants.

The health department’s original proposal was for about $2.3 million. However, by cutting the two programs, the commissioners’ reduced the request by about $328,000.

Commission Chairman Richard Ranzau says they basically approved 86% of the health department’s proposal.

The health department’s seven other community health programs such as immunizations, family planning and maternal and child health will still be in the funding proposal.