Public health system transformation clears legislature, heads to governor
A “paradigm shift” for public health in Indiana crossed the finish line at the Statehouse Thursday.
The legislation, SB 4, is the result of two years of work by the governor’s Public Health Commission to explore how to better deliver services through local health departments.
Sen. Ed Charbonneau’s (R-Valparaiso) bill creates a list of about two dozen core services those departments must provide if they want access to dramatically increased funding from the state.
That list of services is broad. It includes everything from sanitary and food inspections to immunizations to HIV testing to preventative care for diabetes and obesity.
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Providing all that care is vital, Charbonneau said, in a state with some of the worst health metrics in the country.
“It’s never going to change," Charbonneau said. "We’re never going to bend that curve until we start treating people, preventing them from getting sick.”
Sen. Vaneta Becker (R-Evansville) emphasized that the initiative is voluntary – county commissioners must vote to take the money and provide the services.
Becker said her county leaders are excited to do so.
“Because they think it will allow them to do more work and better work in lots of areas – for maternal health as well as infant mortality,” Becker said.
The bill is now headed to the governor’s desk, where he’s expected to sign it.