Nov. 10—GREENSBURG — Decatur County will receive $267,917.57 in enhanced public health funding from the State of Indiana in 2024.
Decatur is among 85 counties statewide which opted-in to receiving the funds; it was reported in August that Indiana committed $75 million in grant funding to boost county public health budgets, with an additional $150 million statewide set aside for 2025.
Indiana, according to a yearlong analysis conducted by the Governor's Public Health Commission, spends an average of $55 per resident, annually, on public health. Nationwide, average per resident public health spending annually is $91 — $36 more than what Indiana spends. Full results of the analysis can be viewed at https://www.in.gov/health/thenervecenter/files/2_GPHC-one-pager_Funding.pdf.
Sean Durbin, Executive Director of the Decatur County Health Department, wrote in an email that Decatur County currently spends $19.36 per resident, annually, on public health. Durbin further explained that budget reductions in 2013 slashed it to $12.11 per resident, annually, and that the department has increased that spending each year since.
"Our 2024 amount," per resident, annually, wrote Durbin, "will be $29.38."
The department's 2024 budget, including state funding, has been approved. The funds will be used to expand core health department services and offer grants to community organizations "that can help make Decatur County a healthier community," Durbin explained.
"Our first-year plans," he continued, "are to have a new nursing position and a new environmental position."
These additions will allow the department to expand, improving outreach and vaccination efforts. Grants will be reviewed by a committee, Durbin wrote, "to determine the effectiveness in improving the health of Decatur County citizens" consistent to core services goals.
Ten percent, or approximately $26,000 of the $267,917 total, will be used for grants to community organizations. According to Durbin, these new grants, "were created realizing that there are organizations" performing services "which would be redundant and less effective if the health department tried to start from scratch. It is a much more effective use of taxpayer dollars to help fund the experts in their specific areas than to duplicate services."
The Indiana Department of Health defines health department core services as including: tobacco prevention and cessation efforts, chronic disease prevention, trauma/injury prevention, fatality reviews, maternal and child health, school health liaison needs, lead case management and risk assessment team needs, clinical care access, tuberculosis prevention and case management, health-related emergency and disaster preparedness, immunizations, infectious disease prevention and surveillance, vital records storage and access, food protection, environmental public health and ensuring establishments applying tattoos, piercings or eyelash extensions are sanitary.
Noelle Maxwell: email@example.com.