Public Health Commission approves draft recommendations
The Governor’s Public Health Commission. (Photo by Whitney Downard/ Indiana Capital Chronicle)
The Governor’s Public Health Commission voted Thursday to approve a draft report of recommendations for improving Indiana’s public health system, pending edits.
Ultimately the commission will urge state legislators to invest $250 million into Indiana’s public health system, which ranks in the bottom ten systems of the nation. Areas of focus include: data and information integration, workforce, child and adolescent health, emergency preparedness, governance and infrastructure and funding.
Former State Sen. Luke Kenley, a co-chair of the commission, outlined the need for local buy-in from county commissioners to use state funds for public health, rather than requiring each entity to follow recommendations.
Brian Tabor, the president of the Indiana Hospital Association, submitted a proposal for the governor’s office to review the state’s licensing process, noting that no one entity oversaw Indiana’s healthcare workforce.
“One thing that I think could be very helpful in increasing the capacity of our workforce is getting our applicants for licensure through the process faster,” Tabor said. “But also doing so in a way that provides for better data collection.”
Tabor suggested moving healthcare licensing, currently coordinated by the Professional Licensing Agency, to the Department of Health. Tabor said he recognized the suggestion came during the state’s last meeting but thought the governor’s office could review the system on its own.
Paul Halverson, the dean of the Indiana University School of Public Health, agreed that the move could help improve the pipeline for all healthcare workers, especially considering that many public health employees are nearing retirement.
“We are in the midst of a workforce crisis in public health,” Halverson said.
Halverson also advocated for salary recommendations to counties agreeing to public health funding, since wages for the sector aren’t competitive.
Both proposals will appear in the final version of the report, due by December 31, 2022.
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