CHC in jeopardy

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Department of Health announces harsh budget decisions

By Carol A. Clark

New Mexico Health Secretary Alfredo Vigil, announced Tuesday that the Department of Health has had to make difficult decisions about the services it provides to deal with an almost $24.4 million reduction in next year’s budget.

Cuts include nearly $3 million for community health councils.

“We are trying to minimize the impact of our budget cuts as we realize that some of our cuts will affect New Mexicans in almost every community,” Vigil said. “We will continue to provide technical assistance to Community Health Councils …”

This cut in funding will have a major impact on Los Alamos, said Michelangelo Lobato who coordinates the local Community Health Council.

“As of right now, if we lose that funding there probably won’t be a health council,” Lobato said during an interview this morning. “This program is a vital part of our community and something we can’t let die.”

DOH has provided the local CHC $50,000 in annual funding, which covers a portion of the salaries for Lobato and a secretary, he said.

The Los Alamos Family Council, Inc., is the fiscal agent for the CHC, Lobato said, and the entity that augments their salaries.

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