The Sun Herald, 9/25/7

The interim state health officer, Dr. Ed Thompson, told lawmakers Monday that the Department of Health needs more nurses and disease investigators to tackle some of its toughest public health problems.

“We simply don’t have enough basic, front-line public health workers,” said Thompson, who has led the department since early July.

Legislators are starting to work on a state spending plan for the year that starts next July 1. Thompson said the department’s budget request is $16.4 million more for the coming year than the $36.9 million it is receiving from the state now. Almost half of the requested increase would be to fill what the department calls “critical vacancies.”