Michael Hicks: Adopt the Governor’s Public Health Commission report proposals

Michael Hicks – In the summer of 2013, the Gov.’s Public Health Commission delivered its final report. The Commission was set up to identify ways to improve the state’s public health system following the emergence of the COVID pandemic. It was headed by former senator Luke Kenley, one of Indiana’s best-known fiscal hawks along with Judith Monroe, former state health commissioner.

Michael Hicks

The group was accompanied by specialists from the local health department as well as the State Health Department, and healthcare professionals.

The 107-page document, which can be found on www.in.gov/gphc The report is extremely detailed and is unlikely to be read by the majority of Hoosiers.

The Commission was tasked with making recommendations to improve the delivery of health services Michael Hicks to the public to ensure the health of the Hoosiers as well as give access to healthcare. The report also looked into the organization of local health departments.

The first thing Hoosiers need to know is that we’re lower in health than we ought to be. Our overall health rating is 40th of the 50 states. The most serious issues we face are in the areas that are most vulnerable to interventions in public health. We are not doing well in the areas of smoking, obesity,  Michael Hicks diabetes and premature deaths of young people.

There is a terribly high infant mortality rate and in Indiana the outcomes of healthcare vary significantly based on income and the wealth of a community. In those areas where an improved public health system Michael Hicks would make the most difference and benefit the most, they are also the least supported.

In Indiana, poor health makes the business of Indiana more costly because of the higher cost of health insurance. As I frequently mention in my column, the health of the public isn’t the only reason for our high healthcare costs in Indiana; however, the issue is something our legislature is able to easily deal with.

This report provides very precise legislative changes and 32 specific recommendations. In my opinion the recommendations accomplish three major things.

The first is that the recommendations change the roles for public health authorities to more local targets. The changes to local public health departments will be more responsive to the demands of first responders, schools and other groups in the community. They could also ask local health departments with the Michael Hicks  responsibility to concentrate on coordination of events like free clinics at neighborhoods or schools.

These recommendations are crucial in making the relationship between the counties and the state more of a collaboration than the top-down administrative structure. The needs for healthcare in counties differ, often significantly. These guidelines allow local authorities to concentrate on their specific local needs.

The second is that the guidelines provide a series of actions to ensure that local public health departments are able to be more effective in their work. This includes the establishment of professional standards Michael Hicks  for employees as well as greater collaboration with health providers including state agencies, as well as first responders.

The plans include permitting local health departments to be billed by Medicaid for clinical services, and requiring an agreed upon minimum set of services to be available in all counties.

The third is that these recommendations will require the local departments of health to be more effective in emergency responses as well as health education and the identification of imminent threats to public health. They  Michael Hicks achieve this through sharing of data, the creation of more study groups, and coordination with other agencies as well as private organizations that do this type of work.

In the aftermath of COVID the majority of people are likely to watch changes made to their local health departments with a bit of skepticalness. It is therefore beneficial to look at the issues these recommendations leave out and the things they try to achieve. This Commission report will change the rules on wearing masks, or the way in which the decisions are made regarding the possibility of a Michael Hicks  pandemic.

They belong to a separate set of regulations that were changed following the outbreak. It’s not a major state-wide seizure of regional health authorities.

The best method to consider the Commission’s recommendations is to think about how they will impact the less commonplace daily challenges facing public health. Two examples will be provided. The first one is the AIDS crisis within Scott County back in 2014. A local doctor noticed an increase in the number of patients, but the delay in reporting and submitting data to the health department in Scott County and delays in the analysis of information meant that the response Michael Hicks was delayed by a significant amount.

At the point that the state realized the issue and took appropriate actions, the disease was spreading rapidly.

One study of The Lancet (Gonsalves & Crawford 2018) indicated that delayed response could lead to up to 170-plus HIV infections. With the cost of treatment for HIV at up to $400,000, this was easily an $65 million  Michael Hicks loss in just one locality. But, I think that the second scenario is more pressing and widespread.

A modern, highly-trained local health department could be one of the first to recognize an increase in overdoses of opioids or more hazardous drugs like Fentanyl. This is a problem that has been recurring throughout Indiana as well as across the country.

Local health departments , like those in the recommendations of the Commission, would be better equipped to assist the police force, EMS and hospitals. Additionally they’d be able exchange data to help reduce any spread. In addition, they’d be in a better position to assist local schools and groups that educate  Michael Hicks their people about the dangers of these medications. These changes are needed right now.

In the present, in states that are fully funded by their health departments locally The best methods are in use. In other countries there is a tiny, under funded staff that doesn’t even make a dent in the numerous health issues that confront the state of Indiana. The Commission’s plans will ensure that everyone has access to a high-quality local health department.

Naturally, all of these new suggestions are not an all-encompassing solution. It may take time, perhaps decades to improve our Michael Hicks poor public health ranking. The gaps discovered during the pandemic is an ideal opportunity to look at the problems Indiana is facing in the field of public health. Of course it will cost money and time.


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