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Lack of state budget puts East St. Louis health-care facility into jeopardy

A doctor's stethoscope
(Via Flickr/Rosemary)
(Via Flickr/Rosemary)
A doctor's stethoscope

Illinois has yet to pass a state budget, and an East St. Louis health-care facility is facing layoffs and other tough decisions as a result.

The East Side Health District, which provides services to area residents, could lay off up to 30 workers, (an amount totaling up to two-thirds of the staff) and may end up closing altogether if it does not receive state funding soon.  

“Our community would be at such a disadvantage because so many in our community of East St. Louis and its surrounding areas are best served by having this agency open,” East Side Health District  health educator Linda Joiner said.

Agency officials estimate that it could go another month and a half without state funding before having to close.

Before the facility closes, the agency will have to either close or reduce some services currently available to residents. These include: immunizations, nutritional programs, dental health services, health education and others.

“Your core services would remain, but at a very skeletal staffing. Environmental health would take a hit, so in a word it would be catastrophic,” Joiner said.

Illinois has been without a state budget since the beginning of July, and as a grant-funded facility, the East Side Health District depends on state money.                                                                      

“It’s just like having a check account and you’re waiting for your check to be directly deposited. If it’s not directly deposited, you can’t pay your bills and that’s the case in I’m sure in any agency that’s faced with a layoff,” Joiner said.