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'Paradigm shift' for public health easily clears Indiana Senate, heads to House

Lauren Chapman
/
IPB News
Sen. Ed Charbonneau, a Republican from Valparaiso, said his legislation, SB 4, is meant to address the long-underserved infrastructure of public health in Indiana.

Sen. Ed Charbonneau, a Republican from Valparaiso, said his legislation, SB 4, is meant to address the long-underserved infrastructure of public health in Indiana.

Legislation headed to the House aims to overhaul the quality of care that local health departments provide to Hoosiers.

Sen. Ed Charbonneau, a Republican from Valparaiso, the bill’s author, called SB 4 a “paradigm shift” for public health in Indiana, moving more towards preventing illness than just treating it.

Charbonneau also said his bill is about addressing the infrastructure of public health – which has long been underserved.

“We don’t build a road system and then neglect it," Charbonneau said. "We don’t build schools and not staff them. The same is true for public health.”

READ MORE: Senate committee passes bill to boost public health system, but challenges remain

Join the conversation and sign up for the Indiana Two-Way. Text "Indiana" to 73224. Your comments and questions in response to our weekly text help us find the answers you need on statewide issues throughout the legislative session. And follow along with our bill tracker.

Under the bill, local health departments can apply to the state for significantly increased funding. But to get it, they must provide about two dozen core services, a list of which is included in the bill.

Sen. Shelli Yoder, a Democrat from Bloomington, noted the funding isn’t in the measure – that will be decided in the state budget.

“We’re going to need to make sure that we do fund Senate Bill 4 so that counties that choose to participate in this can apply and do the work that is much needed throughout Indiana," Yoder said.

The bill passed the Senate 41-7.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.
Copyright 2023 IPB News.

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