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Governor's Public Health Commission debates funding recommendations, nears final report

Brandon Smith
IPB News
Final recommendations from the Governor's Public Health Commission are expected in the coming months.

Indiana will likely need tens to hundreds of millions of dollars more in public health funding just to match the national average.

The Governor’s Public Health Commission met Thursday to discuss potential recommendations it will make when it comes to how much Indiana spends on public health.

The national average in such spending is about $90 per person. Indiana spends $55 per person at the state level. At the local level, it’s worse.

And State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box noted that funding gap doesn’t even cover all of Indiana’s health needs.

“This doesn’t really cover what we need for trauma and it doesn’t cover EMS," Box said. "It doesn’t cover making sure every school has access to a nurse, a school nurse.”

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Hendricks County Commissioner Dennis Dawes said accountability and transparency will be key when making a case to state and local elected officials to boost health spending.

“If we put more money into public health, what is – and you use it in here – what’s the return on investment, or what’s the outcome gonna be?” Dawes said.

Other proposed recommendations include making it easier for local health departments to get access to all the funding they can. That includes helping them with grant proposals and Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements.

The commission’s final report is expected later this year.

Contact reporter Brandon at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.