Representatives from Idaho’s South Central Public Health District asked the Blaine County commissioners on Tuesday to contribute $582,528 towards its fiscal 2023 budget—a $163,401 increase over the county’s 2022 contribution equaling just over a third of the Health District’s budget for the year.
Overall, the Health District, which spans Blaine, Lincoln, Camas, Gooding, Cassia, Jerome, Mindoka and Twin Falls counties, is planning a 4.87% year-over-year increase in its total budget, asking counties to contribute $2,625,802 to its proposed $8,452,615 budget, according to a presentation to the commissioners. The 2023 ask would draw $951,541 more from the eight counties than in fiscal year 2022, a 56.83% increase. Most of that money would go to patch a nearly $900,000 drop in state General Fund contributions; the Health District has no General Fund support in its draft 2023 budget.
The amount each county pays is derived from a formula that weighs the population and land valuation as a proportion of the whole district. The district uses county funds for environmental health, special health clinics, vaccine distribution, suicide prevention, infant care and more.
On Tuesday, the Blaine County commissioners were in unanimous support of the district’s proposal.
“We support the work and appreciate all the efforts of the Public Health District,” Commissioner Dick Fosbury said. “We need to work together to maintain health in our county.”
Representatives from the Health District outlined the financial needs of the organization for the 2023 fiscal year and defined the specific services that would be funded using county money.
The Health District helped distribute more than 122,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses across its eight counties of the district in 2021, according to its budget book, coordinating with 63 area providers to get federal shipments to patients within two days of receiving them. The accessibility of the vaccine in Blaine County enabled the county to not only achieve the highest vaccination rate in the district, but also the highest vaccination rate in all of Idaho.
Meanwhile, the Health District provided 134 special clinics at parks, outdoor events, school gyms and other locales that support and promote good health. The Health District also partners with local EMT’s to provide vaccines to home-bound residents, and drive-through vaccine clinics.
The Health District also provided outreach and in-home appointments to Hispanic residents disproportionately affected by COVID-19. This included special translated webpages, pamphlets, social media posts, news reports and special clinics to provide equal access and care information to everyone in the county.
“Within Blaine County, the outreach to the Hispanic community is really valuable to our community,” Commissioner Angenie McCleary said. “I think that really warrants some outreach and celebration and it’s something I’m really proud of.”
McCleary, Blaine County’s representative to the district, looks to vote on the budget on behalf of the county in the near future. ￼