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Before the deadline, 93% of Indiana counties choose to participate in the $225 million health project



Indianapolis, Indiana – The Health First Indiana Initiative will provide cash to nearly 93% of Indiana counties in 2019.

The program is a two-year, $225 million governmental investment in public health programs. This Friday was the cutoff date for the first year of financing.

“We’ve never seen this, this amount of funding through the state to directly impact local public health,” Christine Stinson, the Wayne County Health Department’s Executive Director, said.

Wayne County decided to participate in the effort last week, according to Stinson. The county will now get a minimum of $773,000 from the state for public health projects the following year.

“We will be able to dial the data down to our specific county and then tailor our programming to meet what is, what you know, happening here,” Stinson said.

“I’m very pleased with the, the final vote count,” State Sen. Ed Charbonneau said.

The legislation that brought to the initiative was written by Charbonneau. Only six counties, he claimed, declined to participate in the funds for the first year (though they are still allowed to apply for the second year if they so want).

“We funded it for two years, and two years from now, or when we go through the next budget session, we’re going to be dealing with this again.”

The amount of public health funding each county can receive will be doubled, according to Stinson, in the initiative’s second phase.

“The second year we’ll get full funding, and ours is just a little over $1.5M, which, you know, for a county of our size will greatly impact our ability to provide good sound public health,” Stinson said.

Funds that would have gone to counties that choose not to participate this year will be reassigned. The official monetary amounts that counties who opted in would get for 2024 will be announced on Friday.