"On May 19th, the Board was informed by Deputy Secretary of Health Michael Huff that neither hospital nor foundation contributions will qualify as local share for the purpose of defining Act 315 match funding. ....
"Needless to say, this decision was wholly unanticipated and requires an extensive reanalysis of all funding projections and a complete re-working of the initial five-year financial plan which had been prepared for delivery to the Health Commission this week and presentation to commission members on June 8th."
The LV Health Comm'n was scheduled to meet on June 8th and review the Board of Health's financial plan. That meeting has now been canceled.
Update (3:40 PM): Chairman Dougherty Reacts
In response to the bad news from Dr. Lyon, LV Health Comm'n Chair Percy Dougherty has officially canceled the June 8th meeting. In a statement, he expresses his disappointment.
It is with great regret that I am forced to cancel the June 8th meeting of the Lehigh Valley Health Commission based on the decision of Michael Huff, the Deputy Secretary of Health of Pennsylvania, to not allow hospital or foundation contributions to qualify for the purpose of Act 315 matching funds from the State. This means the budget of the Provisional Health Board is invalid and must be reworked to reflect the loss of this important source of income.
The importance of this money is paramount because it is needed to draw down funding from the State on a 1:l matching basis. Much of the support for the Lehigh Valley Health Departments rests on the ability to drawn down $6/person in matching funds from the State. The Act 315 fund supports the required services that the health department must provide.
This doesn't mean that the Lehigh Valley Health Department received a fatal blow, but it is definitely on life support until the budget analysis is reworked to make up for this critical piece of funding. It is apparenth at the State of Pennsylvania budgetc risis is being felt by the State Department of Health and they in turn are passing the funding shortage on to us in the form of decreased funding.
I will be asking Michael Huff for further clarification and for additional information from the Health Board in terms of how they will make up for this lack of funding from altemative sources. Depending on the answers another meeting will be scheduled in mid to late July to present the revised budget.
Some believe that this is the death knell for a joint bi-county [sic] health department; but although I believe it is a life threatening injury, I believe that further clarification of income sources must be analyzed before we jump to any hasty conclusions.