INDIANAPOLIS — Nearly 93% of Indiana counties will receive funding next year from the Health First Indiana Initiative.
Two of the six counties that did not opt into the funding were Wells and Whitley counties.
The initiative is a $225 million state investment for public health projects over the next two years. The deadline for the first year of funding was this Friday.
“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.
Stinson said Wayne County voted to opt into the initiative last week. Now, the county will receive a minimum investment from the state of $773,000 for public health projects next 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.
Charbonneau authored the bill that made the initiative a reality. He said only six counties didn’t opt into the first year of funding (but they are eligible to apply for the second year if they so choose).
“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.”
Stinson said the second round of the initiative will double the amount of public health funds each county can receive.
“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.
Counties that did not opt-in this year will have funds that would have gone to them redistributed. Counties that did opt-in will find out the official dollar amounts they’ll receive for 2024 next Friday.
For a breakdown of which counties opted in and the minimum investment each county could receive, click here: Health: Health First Indiana.