An additional $1,486 in state health money could be on its way to Davis County in the next fiscal budget if a newly proposed funding formula receives state approval.
Davis is one of five health districts that would receive increased funding under the proposal. Seven other districts, mostly those serving multicounty regions, would lose money.The task force that developed the new formula is recommending that it be implemented over three years to lessen the effect on districts facing decreased funding.
The state has allocated $1.14 million for distribution among the 12 health districts. Davis' full share would be $46,433, if the formula is adopted as proposed.
Gary K. Dalton, Tooele County health director and co-chairman of the task force, said the goal was to develop a funding formula that would be fair to all districts while causing the least amount of damage in the reallocation process. To do that, the task force earmarked 10 percent of this year's funding toward compensating those most heavily affected. The set-aside would be reduced proportionately over the three-year phase-in period.
Hardest hit would be the Uintah Basin District, which would lose $43,520 over the three years. Other districts losing money include Bear River ($31,624), Central District ($26,060), Southeast District ($37,305), Southwest District ($28,956), Weber-Morgan District ($27,490) and Wasatch County ($2,951). Dalton said if state funding is increased by $600,000 over the next few years, no district would receive less than the share it is receiving now.
Robert Sherwood, Utah Health Department, and the other co-chairman, said the new formula is designed to shift state aid to the more urban areas where greater benefit to poverty groups could be expected. As state funding increases, the dollar share going to urban areas would increase.
Dalton said the greatest difficulty in developing the formula was dealing with the variables found from area to area. He said as the task force studied suggestions, it found that most could be grouped into four basic areas, and these areas were used to develop the formula.
Davis Commissioner William Peters, who served on the task force, said he had difficulty accepting the categories at first but agrees with Sherwood and Dalton that it is the fairest approach. He said much compromise was involved in working out details of the formula, and he feels comfortable with the final version.
Steve Romney, Davis Health Board member, was not as convinced. He said it appears that Davis would have the lowest per-capita share among the 12 districts, and he doesn't think that is fair since Davis is the state's third most populous county. He said it appears that Davis would be shorted in favor of other counties.
At Romney's request, the Davis board put off a vote on whether to support the formula to its May meeting. Romney said board members need more time to study the numbers and decide if they agree that they are fair.
Dalton said officials hope to complete presenting the formula to the various health districts by the end of May. If no major changes are proposed, the formula would become effective July 1.