Miss. Health Dept. seeks $6 million increase in funding as it spends down reserve accounts

The Mississippi Health Department told lawmakers Wednesday that it needs more money in the coming budget year or it may have to close clinics and reduce AIDS drug purchases.

Dr. Mary Currier, the state health officer, told the House Appropriations Committee that the department has been draining internal reserves to stay afloat last year and this year. She said the Health Department is spending about $4 million from reserves this year and said accounts will be almost empty when the current budget year ends June 30.

“For the past several years, we have spent down cash reserves to keep our doors open,” Currier said.

The department needs $32.5 million in state money, she said, well above the $26.5 million it’s getting now. Legislative budgeters recommend $20.7 million for the coming year, while Gov. Phil Bryant recommended about $25 million.