Counties pleased with increase in state funding for public health

Posted 19 April 2022 at 11:17 am

Press Release, New York State Association of Counties

After years of underinvestment, the recently enacted SFY 2023 State Budget provides nearly $26 million in urgently needed state funding for local health departments that have been fighting the Covid-19 pandemic in every county for the last two years.

The funding is often referred to as “Article 6” funding for the section of Public Health Law that sets the state grant amounts and reimburses local health departments for the core public health services they perform, including communicable disease control and emergency preparedness and response.

Prior to the passage of this year’s budget, local health departments had not received an increase in state funding in more than seven years.

“Over the past two years, New Yorkers have had the opportunity to see their local health departments in action as they rose to the challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Martha Sauerbrey, NYSAC President and Tioga County Chairwoman. “We commend Governor Hochul and legislative leaders for making the investments we need to ensure our local health departments are prepared to see our state through this pandemic and confront whatever comes next.”

The enacted budget amends Public Health Law to increase base grant funding to full-service local health departments to $750,000 and increases base grant funding to partial-service LHDs to $577,500. This increase will allow LHDs to better respond to new and emerging public health threats.

The enacted budget also amends Public Health Law to make fringe benefits like employee retirement funds and health insurance an eligible expense for Article 6 state aid. This change will help local health departments compete for talented health professionals and increase staffing levels to meet public health demand.

Sarah Ravenhall, Executive Director of the New York State Association of County Health Officials (NYSACHO) said, “NYSACHO welcomes this funding as an important first step in providing the resources necessary to make our public health system fully capable of responding to the myriad public health threats facing our communities. As New York State Commissioner of Health Dr. Mary Bassett recently said when discussing the state budget: ‘Overcoming years of underinvestment in public health won’t be a one-shot deal.’ We believe the Commissioner is absolutely right and we are excited to work with the Governor, the Department of Health and the Legislature to build on the successes of this budget to make our public health infrastructure even stronger in the future.”