CHD

Costs rise, demand grows

The board of what was formerly known as the Travis County Healthcare District (recently rebranded as Central Health) is considering a $106.9 million 2011 budget to cover the costs of expanding health care services for indigent residents. Preliminary approval of the plan is set for Aug. 18, followed by a round of public hearings and a final vote on a tax rate and budget in September. The proposed budget total does not include what Central Health officials anticipate will be $94 million in reserves in the new budget year.

With a proposed tax rate of 7.24 cents per $100 of assessed property value, tax revenue is expected to increase to $66.4 million, up from $65.4 million in the current budget. Although overall property values have declined, property owners' taxes could shift either up or down depending on the final appraisal assessments of the Travis Central Appraisal District. Travis County commissioners expect to receive the effective tax rate on Friday, July 23, based on estimated appraisal rolls.

On a related financial matter, the Central Health board on Aug. 3 will seek permission from county commissioners to issue certificates of obligation to build a new health clinic at 1210 W. Braker. The commissioners' blessing allows the board the option of using the certificates, which would be paid off over 20 years if it decides to go that route. Groundbreaking for the $18 million clinic is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 10, according to John Stephens, Central Health's chief financial officer. As the need for indigent care grows, the health district is also renovating and expanding its South Austin medical clinic at 2529 S. First.

In the long term, county health officials can expect an increased demand for services thanks to a budget-slashing directive from state leaders to trim agency budgets by 10%. The Department of State Health Services is proposing slicing nearly $246 million from its 2012-2013 budget. Mental health services would take the hardest hit – a proposed $134 million cut. Funding shortages at the state level inevitably force local entities to carry the load.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Central Health
$291 Million Plan to Provide Health Care for Travis County Residents
$291 Million Plan to Provide Health Care for Travis County Residents
Central Health's budget to serve nearly 200,000 residents

Mike Clark-Madison, Sept. 6, 2019

Making Patients – and Sendero – Whole
Making Patients – and Sendero – Whole
Central Health aims for quality care and better finances for nonprofit health plan

Michael King, Dec. 28, 2018

More by Amy Smith
Well-Behaved? Let's Assume Not.
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: The Untold Story
Barbara Leaming's new biography makes the case that Jackie O suffered from PTSD

Nov. 28, 2014

Section 8 Reopens
Section 8 Reopens
Hurry up ... and wait!

Oct. 3, 2014

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Central Health, Travis County Healthcare District, budget

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle