Local News

Bill modernizing local health departments passes Senate

A bill authored by State Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg) that would improve the quality of services performed by Indiana's local health departments passed the Senate today by a vote of 41-7.

Senate Bill 4 would establish the Local Public Health Fund grant to support local health departments that choose to provide "core public health services" recommended by the Governor's Public Health Commission.

These services include, but are not limited to, screening for childhood lead exposure, increasing access to immunizations, partnering with schools to support student health, improving emergency preparedness for rural counties, preventing tobacco use, and reviewing suicide, child and overdose fatality reports.

"By preventing health problems, rather than just treating them, Indiana can foster healthy families and a strong workforce," Leising said. “This bill works to better support local health departments in screening, preparing for and treating potential health risks to our communities before they arise."

Funding for grants would be determined by the state budget, but SB 4 would ensure applicant counties receive a minimum grant of $350,000, with additional funding determined by population size and the health vulnerability of residents.

The State Budget Committee would review annual county grant allocations before distribution.