State Health Department to Eliminate More Than 120 Positions

APRIL 16, 2004 - Posted at 3:02 p.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Arkansas Health Department says a budget shortfall is forcing it to cut 123 positions.  Most of the positions are vacant but 38 people will lose their jobs next month.

The department says some of its programs have been costing more than they have been taking in, forcing the cuts.  The agency is facing a deficit of $5.35 million.

Health Department Director Fay Boozman says the number of people making clinic visits to health department offices has dropped.  That trend reduces the amount of money the agency gets in reimbursement money.

Boozman says more children are getting care through the ARKids First Program and more private physicians are providing immunizations and seeing more Medicaid patients.

Boozman says those trends are good for health in the state but hard on the department's budget.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)