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DeWine budget plan includes boost for public health

Gov. DeWine released his biennial budget proposal Monday and it includes an increase in state spending toward the Ohio Department of Health, with investments in data reporting improvements, addiction services, pregnancy support and addressing social inequities of health care access (Source: “DeWine seeks more state spending for public health causes in Ohio,” Ohio Capital Journal, Feb. 3).

The budget proposal, which outlines funding amounts for all state agencies for fiscal years 2022 and 2023, allocates $25 million toward improving public health data reporting, with a goal to “align” the record systems across the state. There are also continued investments into mental health support systems, nursing home training, lead hazard control and to RecoveryOhio, the state’s program centered on addiction services and harm reduction.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of more accurate and timely health data to improve community health programs and protect Ohio lives,” a budget fact sheet reads.

“One of the long-term goals of our administration is to build up our local health departments,” DeWine said at a Tuesday news conference. “We’ve ignored public health in this country for too long. And if this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we can no longer afford to underfund public health.”

State lawmakers are now reviewing this proposal and will negotiate budget legislation over the coming months.