Improving Indiana's public health infrastructure

Improving Indiana's public health infrastructure

Monday, February 27, 2023

Having a healthy population is key to our state's success. By preventing health problems, rather than just treating them, Indiana can foster healthier families and a stronger workforce.

In 2019, CNBC ranked Indiana 40th in the nation for life expectancy, 11th worst for obesity and 10th worst for smoking.

Senate Bill 4 would incentivize local health departments to improve the quality of their services by establishing the Local Public Health Services Fund grant program.

The grant program would support local health departments that opt-in to provide "core public health services" recommended by the Governor's Public Health Commission. These services include, but are not limited to, screening for childhood lead exposure, inspecting public buildings for sanitation, partnering with schools to support student health, preventing tobacco use, and reviewing suicide, child and overdose fatality reports.

Funds for grants would be determined by the state budget, but SB 4 would ensure applicant counties receive a minimum grant of $350,000 with additional funding determined by population size and the health vulnerability of residents.

SB 4 is clear that all local health department authority will be maintained under this legislation, and states, "A county that accepts additional funding to provide core public health services does not transfer any authority under statute in operating the local health department to the state department in return for additional funding."

This bill would be a big step forward in improving the overall health of Hoosiers and promoting collaboration between local health departments and the Indiana Department of Health.

SB 4 passed the Senate and is now with the House of Representatives. For more information about this bill, click here