Baker Questions Health Officials on “Zeroed-Out” Programs

HARRISBURG (March 24, 2011) –Sen. Lisa Baker (R-20) expressed her concerns about the proposed elimination of funding for some state health programs, including newborn hearing screenings and regional cancer centers, during a recent Senate Appropriations Committee hearing.

Sen. Baker encouraged Secretary of Health nominee Dr. Eli Avila to look into the line-item for newborn hearing screenings, which was “zeroed out” in Governor Corbett’s budget unveiled on March 8. Sen. Baker said many hearing-impaired babies have been discovered through these screenings, particularly in infants born outside the traditional hospital setting. Avila promised to investigate the funding levels for this program.

Sen. Baker asked Avila about the wisdom of consolidating chronic care management into one line-item in the state budget. Avila assured her that the consolidation does not mean that the program has been downgraded in importance, but that the department will now have the flexibility to redirect funds as needed to an array of health issues as they emerge.

In response to Sen. Baker’s questioning, Avila also pledged to examine why Rural Cancer Outreach and the Regional Cancer Initiatives have been zeroed out in the proposed budget.

Contact: Jennifer Wilson
(570) 675-3931

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