Budget cuts spare health centers

    Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter’s budget cuts took an axe to a number of city services. Community health centers were spared, for the most part, but advocates say they will still feel the pinch.

    Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter’s budget cuts took an axe to a number of city services. Community health centers were spared, for the most part, but advocates say they will still feel the pinch.

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    The mayor’s five year plan, released last week, makes no cuts to essential services provided by the city’s eight health centers.

    Levkovich: We’re relieved. Bottom line is, we’re relieved.

    Natalie Levkovich is the executive director of the health federation of Philadelphia.

    Levkovich: There’s no immediate harm. As I say except to the extent that the demand may increase.

    Tough economic times mean more people rely on the health centers for care, says Levkovich, because they provide medical services for many uninsured and low income patients.

    Cheri Rinehart, president of the Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers, says the centers also provide the mental health care needed during these times.

    Rinehart: Behavioral health care becomes an increasingly important issue during an economic downturn that again they’re going to be seeing more people and so they definitely will feel the strain.

    The health commissioner’s office will lose six non-essential positions under the mayor’s plan, but all HIV/AIDS programs will be preserved.

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