Contra Costa County,
like virtually every county in California,
is facing staggering budget deficits that
mean cuts in services and
a reduction in our work force.
I'm Dr. William Walker, Director of
Contra Costa Health Services and
the County Health Officer, here to
talk about some of the decisions we are
being forced to make to help the
County balance its budget.
We've been directed to cut
13.5 million dollars of
Every time we have to cut our budget,
we face very difficult questions about
how best to use limited resources.
As the Director of a
health department responsible for
protecting human lives,
I believe this kind of rationing is
bad public policy and makes little sense.
Unfortunately, cutting millions from a
budget year after year has
left no easy choices.
So I have submitted to the
County Administrator a plan
to exclude any Contra Costans who are
undocumented, non-citizens, ages 19 and older from
non-emergency outpatient services at our Health Centers.
For those who are undocumented,
we will continue to provide emergency care,
related inpatient services and
care for children and pregnant women.
Currently, we provide services to more than
5,000 undocumented Contra Costa residents.
In dollars and cents, those undocumented residents
use approximately six million county dollars in
non-emergency medical services in
our county Health Centers.
This shouldn't just be about money,
but the fact is, we don't have enough
funding to serve everyone who
needs our help and right now,
our County Health Centers cannot
keep up with the ever-increasing
demand for medical services.
Patient appointments are usually filled by
8:15 AM every day, requiring long waits for
As a physician and the
County's Health Officer,
it pains me to see us taking
these steps backwards.
I wish we didn't have to do this.
I look forward to receiving help from
Washington that will allow me to
restore services and rebuild and
strengthen the system I have
spent my entire career nurturing.
In the meantime, I am hopeful
that our community partners —
other hospitals and health systems,
And community clinics can help us fill this need.
Please visit our website at
read more about other
budget reductions we have
proposed to the Board of Supervisors.
The calendar for adopting the
county budget is also there.
Thank you for listening.