As the year comes to a close, Pennsylvania will get almost $100 million to improve its public health infrastructure, from employee hiring to IT upgrades.
The federal funds, coming from the CDC’s Public Health Infrastructure grant program, provides $98 million to 10 county and municipal health departments.
In the future, Philadelphia’s Department of Public Health will also receive funding, and the Pennsylvania Department of Health expects more funding to come to the commonwealth in the next five years.
“This funding will enable the department to make critical investments needed to provide comprehensive public health services to all Pennsylvanians,” Acting Secretary of Health and Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson said in a press release. “In addition to focusing on public health workforce development efforts, we will be able to implement responsive and reliable data systems to help ensure the public is prepared for the future by accelerating prevention and preparedness efforts.”
The money will go to health departments in Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Erie, and Montgomery Counties, as well as Allentown, Bethlehem, Wilkes-Barre, and York.
It can be used to recruit, hire, and train health care workers, “foundational capabilities” such as IT, health planning and equity, communications, and data modernization to upgrade tech infrastructure.
Recruiting and hiring workers has been a familiar refrain across the state. EMS staffing has been an issue, as The Center Square previously reported, with lawmakers arguing the system is in jeopardy. Rural and urban police departments alike have also struggled with staffing.
The federal funding follows state funding that will provide another $100 million for expanding mental health treatment and recruiting health care workers, as The Center Square previously reported.
More could be on the way as well: during the gubernatorial campaign, Governor-elect Josh Shapiro campaigned on spending more to improve health care in the commonwealth and “tackle the health care workforce crisis.”