With no reported impact on the general fund, the Kings County Board of Supervisors this week approved more than $1.6 million requested by the Department of Public Health for three programs to help children’s medical services in the valley. central.
Supervisors voted unanimously to retroactively approve the county’s children’s medical services plan and budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year.
As part of a lengthy consent timeline approved at the Jan. 25 meeting, the board relied on a background report for detailed information provided by the county health department.
The request, which includes state and federal allocations to accommodate children’s health programs, was approved without discussion.
Total Funding Breakdown
- Children’s Health and Disability Prevention: $395,475
- California Children’s Services: $783,516
- Medical Therapy Unit: $109,975
- Health Care Program for Foster Children: $327,587 (includes separate funding allocations for baseline, psychotropic drug monitoring and surveillance, and caseload relief)
Speaking to California Children’s Services, the Department of Public Health’s briefing note notes that caseload averages include 1,333. most frail and medically sickest in the county,” he said.
Coordinated through the Shelly Baird School Medical Therapy Program in Hanford, the state’s children’s services provide physical and occupational therapy to “medically eligible children.”
With approximately 103 children enrolled in the program, the health department has made it clear that all funding is case-based, “based on Medi-Cal and non-Medi-Cal customers.”
Healthcare Professionals Wanted
Each child participating in the program receives an assessment at least once a year by a team of medical specialists. “Ideally, this team consists of a doctor, a physiotherapist and an occupational therapist,” the plan says.
“We were fortunate to hire a full-time physical therapist for our medical therapy unit this year, and we also hope to hire a part-time occupational therapist,” the plan continues. “We also hope to find a qualified doctor who will be willing to help our medical therapy unit one day a month.”
Limited nursing allowance
Although the need for nurses is very great, the current budget limits allocations for full-time staff. For example, the county’s health care program for foster children caps staffing costs at three full-time nurses, based on caseload estimates.
The Children’s Medical Services Plan and Budget Overview clearly indicates that “funding streams” have specific criteria that limit funding for the foster care program.
The program serves about 500 adoptive children in Kings County, according to the Department of Public Health.
In addition to meeting the health care needs of children and young people in foster care, nurses “also act as consultants to social workers and probation officers” to ensure the children’s medical needs are met. are satisfied. However, current funding constraints make it difficult to hire additional full-time nurses for the county’s foster care program.
“We can only factor travel and training into one funding stream,” the Foster Care plan says. “There is not enough in each allowance for full benefit coverage or any indirect costs.”
The Child Health and Disability Prevention Program also makes it difficult for Kings County to recruit more than one full-time nurse.
“We are limited to one nurse due to declining caseloads for case management and shifts in duties overall,” the plan says. “We don’t want to go over budget and not be able to spend the full allocation, as that could lead to allocation changes for next year.”