Minnesota Health Department Restores $1.2 Million in Funding for Minnesota AIDS Project
The Minnesota Health Department this week "reworked" its budget to restore $1.2 million in funding cuts for the Minnesota AIDS Project and other organizations around the state, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) last week announced the cuts, and the project had expected to lose 40% of funding for its statewide AIDS hotline and "substantially reduce" HIV testing, counseling and outreach programs. According to Health Department spokesperson Buddy Ferguson, the department worked with the Finance Department and the governor's office to restore the funds with $400,000 in federal grant funding, $385,000 in unspent subsidies to public health agencies and $400,000 in grant cuts to those agencies. "We're completely surprised and shocked," Bob Tracy, director of community affairs at the Minnesota AIDS Project said, adding that the health department "worked creatively to come up with much less Draconian cuts that -- at least for the moment -- leave most HIV and STD prevention grants in place." According to the Star Tribune, the project will still lose some funding for educational and technical assistance to state pharmacies. Tracy said, "We have serious cuts ahead of us, but the Department of Health has shown that alternatives can be found if they're done in a thoughtful way" (Brown, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 2/12).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.