INDIANAPOLIS — So far, 63 Indiana counties have signed up to receive their share of $225M in public health funds through the Health First Indiana Initiative. That’s according to the chairman of the Senate Health Committee.
“Our statistics are appalling,” State Sen. Ed Charbonneau said.
Sen. Charbonneau said Indiana ranks 45th nationwide in public health funding, and that every single county health department in the state is funded below the national average.
”Every other state in the country the trend is up, Indiana’s trending down with life expectancy,” Sen. Charbonneau said.
According to Sen. Charbonneau, Indiana ranks 42nd nationwide in infant mortality, 45th in percentage of smokers, and 46th in obesity.
He went on to say depending on where you live, your county health department could receive as much as $83 in funding per person, or as little as $1.25 per person.
That’s why he said the $225M provided in SB 4 is a “paradigm shift” for the state.
”Statistics show that money invested in prevention—the ROI is pretty large,” Sen. Charbonneau said.
The amount of money each county can receive will depend on the total number of counties that opt in. Counties that haven’t decided how they want to move forward have a month left to do so.
”Health is local, and it’s better delivered locally,” Madison Mayor Bob Courtney said.
Mayor Courtney is the only mayor on the Governor’s Public Health Commission. He said the money each county receives can be used for a variety of public health projects.
”We’re going to get more staffing, there’s a broad schedule of basic core services that would be delivered at the local level, and a lot of that is about preventative care and education,” Mayor Courtney said.
Although the commission did recommend more funds than what ended up in the budget last session, Sen. Charbonneau said this is the first step in what will be a long-term process.
”I would anticipate there’ll be more money to continue the program later on,” Sen. Charbonneau said.