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Raatz Roundup: Improving Indiana's public health infrastructure

Submitted for use on Feb. 22, 2023
Word Count: 383

Improving Indiana's public health infrastructure

By State Sen. Jeff Raatz (R-Richmond)

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

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

The Indiana General Assembly has made investments in public health, including House Enrolled Act 1007 in 2021, which required the Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) and Family and Social Services Administration to create a plan to reduce the prevalence of critical health issues in our state by July 1, 2022.

However, communities need sufficient funding to prevent critical health issues and increase access to quality, affordable health care for those in need. This session, I co-authored Senate Bill 4, which would incentivize local health departments to improve the quality of their services.

SB 4 would establish the Local Public Health Fund grant program to support local health departments that choose 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, improving emergency preparedness for rural counties, preventing tobacco use, and reviewing suicide, child and overdose fatality reports.

Funding for grants would be determined by House Bill 1001, 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. The State Budget Committee would review annual county grant allocations before distribution.

Local health departments should have the resources to protect our communities from health concerns before they arise, which is why this bill would be a large step in improving the overall health of Hoosiers. I hope to see this bill pass through the legislative process so IDOH and local health departments can increase collaboration and make Indiana a greater state to live, work and raise a family in.

SB 4 will now be considered by the full Senate.

Legislative calendars, agendas, vote tallies and proposed legislation can be viewed online by visiting

If you have any questions or concerns on these or other topics, feel free to contact me at or 317-233-0930.


State Sen. Jeff Raatz (R-Richmond) represents Senate District 27, which includes

Henry, Union and Wayne counties, and portions of Franklin County.

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