The Wayne County Health Department will use six community groups to help address core services required by Health First Indiana funding.

During a May 21 meeting, the county’s Board of Health allocated $703,355.44 to the six agencies and organizations selected from eight applicants. The board will use 2024 and 2025 Heath First Indiana funds as well as two other state-provided funding streams for the 18-month contracts.

The health department has $356,218 for contracts from this year’s expanded state public health funding, plus it expects to have at least $836,000 next year for the contracts. The board, with a series of unanimous votes, allocated $455,051 from that Health First Indiana pot.

It also allocated $100,000 from its Safety PIN funds, an acronym for Protecting Indiana’s Newborns,  and $148,304.44 from its funds for school programs.

This is the first year of the Health First Indiana program that increased state public health funding from about $6.9 million to $75 million shared among 86 participating counties. In 2025, all 92 counties will split $150 million. The state expects counties to provide 15 core services and monitor key performance indicators. 

The core services include tobacco and vaping prevention and cessation, infectious disease surveillance and prevention, access to and linkage to clinical care, chronic disease prevention, lead case management, trauma and injury prevention, food protection, fatality review, maternal and child health, school health liaison, health-related areas during emergencies or disasters, immunizations, environmental public health, tuberculosis prevention and case management, and vital records.

While the health department currently addresses many of the core services, the state funding enables it to utilize community agencies and organizations better positioned to address other core services. Thus the contracts will begin July 1 and carry through 2025.

From the Health First Indiana money, the board voted Reid Health $238,614 to provide coordination and education that addresses core services such as tobacco prevention and cessation, chronic disease prevention, and trauma and injury prevention.

Neighborhood Health Center is allocated $188,557. It will provide care coordinators that improve health outreach.

Bridges for Life receives $27,880 to provide a recovery coach for its addiction treatment efforts.

Those contracts leave about $738,000 available for Health First Indiana contracts.

Birth to Five receives the $100,000 Safety PIN funding to remove barriers to infants’ safe sleep and to improve maternal and child health.

From the school funds, Purdue Extension receives $88,309.44 for two components: tobacco abatement and cessation plus improving student fitness with safe walking to and from school.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Wayne County will receive $59,995 from the school funds to expand its efforts to improve childhood fitness and health.

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A version of this article appeared in the May 29 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Mike Emery is a reporter and layout editor for the Western Wayne News.