Legislation headed to the House aims to overhaul the quality of care that local health departments provide to Hoosiers.
Sen. Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso), the bill’s author, called SB 4 a “paradigm shift” for public health in Indiana, moving more towards preventing illness than just treating it.
Charbonneau also said his bill is about addressing the infrastructure of public health – which has long been underserved.
“We don’t build a road system and then neglect it," Charbonneau said. "We don’t build schools and not staff them. The same is true for public health.”
READ MORE: Senate committee passes bill to boost public health system, but challenges remain
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Under the bill, local health departments can apply to the state for significantly increased funding. But to get it, they must provide about two dozen core services, a list of which is included in the bill.
Sen. Shelli Yoder (D-Bloomington) noted the funding isn’t in the measure – that will be decided in the state budget.
“We’re going to need to make sure that we do fund Senate Bill 4 so that counties that choose to participate in this can apply and do the work that is much needed throughout Indiana," Yoder said.
The bill passed the Senate 41-7.
Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.