Indicator Report 2021: Understanding PA Public Health Infrastructure


WILKES-BARRE – As part of the 2021 Index report edited by the Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development at Wilkes University, the Institute’s Health and Healthcare Working Group investigated public health.

Executive Secretary Terri Ooms said: “Considering the pandemic situation, it seemed necessary to understand the public address system. Sadly, public health in the United States is now part of partisan politics, but its roots lie in medicine. Based on science. “According to the Institute of Medicine, Ooms has three essential public health functions: assessment, policy development and assurance.

“Federal, state and local governments play a role in performing these essential functions and providing essential medical services,” Ooms said. “States have primary responsibility for implementing public health, but the structure and role of state and local health services vary from state to state.

Ooms explains that Pennsylvania’s public health system is a mix of three different authorities primarily responsible for public health issues: the state Department of Health, county and city health departments, and local health authorities. Made.

Currently, there are six county health departments and four city health departments, covering 41% of Pennsylvania’s population. In the other 61 counties and municipalities that do not have a local health service, public health services are provided by a combination of various government agencies and other non-governmental organizations.

According to the Nonprofit American Health Trust, less than three percent of the estimated $ 3.6 trillion the United States spends on health each year goes to public health and prevention.

Pa. Public health system

In Pennsylvania, Ooms said there are three different authorities responsible for public health issues. Ministry of Health (DOH), county and city health departments and local health authorities. Founded in 1905, PA DOH’s current mission is “to promote healthy behavior, prevent injury and disease, and ensure the safe delivery of quality medical care to everyone in Pennsylvania.” And operates under the vision of “providing a healthy state of Pennsylvania for all”. .. “

The Pennsylvania Local Health Administration Act (Bill 315), enacted in 1951, approved the creation of a single or joint county health department to improve local health administration statewide. Law 315 funds local health services in counties and municipalities that meet the requirements.

“For decades, state funding under Bill 315 was stable at $ 6 per capita,” Ooms said. “This law was amended by Law 12 in 1976 to add support for environmental health initiatives, and $ 1.50 per person was also provided to the local health sector for these services. Funded by state and federal grants, we need local funding from counties and municipalities to cover part of the costs. “

The current structure of PA DOH consists of 16 different offices:

The Department of Community Health Systems operates a network of state health centers and acts as the practice department of public health responsible for supporting statewide public health programs through six district health offices.

There are three district directors covering the six health districts. Each district manager is assigned to two health districts. The Lackawanna and Luzerne counties areas are classified as Northeast District Offices, including the counties of Wyoming, Susquehanna, Wayne, Pike, Monroe, Carbon, Lehi, and Northampton.

The district director responsible for the northeast region also oversees the southeast region.

In addition, the DOH includes five offices focused on healthcare-related infections, health research, equity, resources and services, and prescription drug surveillance.

According to Ooms, Pennsylvania’s rural public health infrastructure now consists of a network of six county health departments, four city health departments and state clinics in the rest of the state. The County and City Health Sector (CMHD) covers 41% of Pennsylvania’s population locally. The Wilkes-Barre Municipal Department of Health and Lackawanna County (Scranton) State and Luzerne County (Wilkes-Barre) State Health Centers are part of the region.

Pennsylvania county and city health departments are located in more urban and populous areas. Local health services are paid on a per capita basis by the state to provide a mandatory set of public health services.

“It will be difficult for rural counties and less populated municipalities to build rural health services and deliver the services they need at the level of per capita funding currently in place,” Ooms said. ..

In the other 61 counties and municipalities that do not have a local health service, public health services are provided by a combination of various government agencies and other non-governmental organizations.

Public health services are provided by the city health committee or by the six district health departments and health centers of the Ministry of Health.

The Department of Environmental Protection provides environmental public health services, and the Department of Agriculture conducts restaurant inspections in counties and municipalities that do not have certified inspectors. The Federal Response Coordination Center within the Pennsylvania Office for Emergency Management (PEMA) also plays a role in declaring a public health disaster.

Although the Department of Human Services is separate from Health Canada, it also provides services related to public health, such as the exchange of state health information and the monitoring of medical support programs.

Source link Indicator Report 2021: Understanding the PA’s public health infrastructure


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