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October 18, 2013



As actions taken by the United States Congress and President Obama late on the evening of October 16, 2013 brought an end to the shutdown of the Federal government, leadership with Catawba County Public Health and Social Services are awaiting more information on what will result from the reopening of the government and the timing of events.

“Transportation programs that serve Medicaid patients, Senior Nutrition participants, programs that serve low income citizens, and vulnerable citizens at risk of abuse or neglect, and nutrition programs like the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program have been impacted by the sixteen day shutdown of the Federal Government,” said John Eller, Catawba County Social Services Director and Doug Urland, Catawba County Public Health Director, in a joint statement. “During the shutdown, our departments were hearing different messages regarding the levels of support for programs which made contingency planning difficult.”

The new legislation passed by Congress funds all block grants and discretionary programs through January 15 as if there were no shutdown from October 1,” Eller and Urland added. “While we are encouraged that the reopening of the Federal government beginning on October 17 will allow us to restore services on the short term, we remain concerned that this is a short term solution. Our agencies had been working on alternate service and staffing plans in the event the shutdown continued, with employee furloughs and further cuts to services as very real possibilities. We remain concerned that our agencies could face these very same possibilities again in January and February of 2014, as the new deadlines arrive. Although this is not a situation the County created, we must respond to it. We await further information on the latest decisions of Congress and will be watching future events very carefully. In the meantime, we are pleased that we can keep our staff intact so they can continue to provide needed services to our citizens.”