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HRS takes budget hit

Officials with the state Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services said Wednesday that legislative budget cuts will cost the district that serves Hillsborough and Manatee counties $4-million.

Twenty-one full-time positions that were left vacant in anticipation of the cuts will be eliminated, a statement said. Another 72 spots will remain vacant for at least three months.

The district's operating budget will be pared by 3 percent, resulting in a savings of $510,598. The majority of the money saved will involve curtailed office expenditures and cutbacks on staff travel.

The budgets of the public health units in both counties will be cut by 31 percent _ a loss of $340,341 for Hillsborough that will affect primary care management services for hundreds of patients with chronic diseases, HRS officials said. The cuts mean that the Hillsborough County School Board must take over basic school health services in its elementary and secondary schools.

The Legislature this year approved nearly $44-million in new revenue for certain HRS programs.. HRS managers hope that money will partly offset the cuts.