A recent letter to the editor titled "Where is the Value of Public Health?" reviewed the funding sources for the Ohio Department of Health and inferred the state of Ohio should mandate only one health district per county. In 1971, the local Seneca County District Advisory Council, which includes the cities of Fostoria and Tiffin, made a decision to combine local health districts to better serve Seneca County, including all of the boundaries of the city of Fostoria. This was a local decision, not mandated by the state of Ohio.
All public health services are local. Ohio ranks 50th in the nation in CDC funding support for public health. We can't get any worse unless they add another state to the union! With current proposed state budget cuts, local public health will receive 6 cents per capita in state subsidy, yet we are required to spend $3 per capita to get it.
Our health district's total generated revenue in 2012 was $2,474,289. Of that amount, $1,861,130 was received through local funding (local levy, District Advisory Council support, and revenue through fees, contracts or donations). We received $11,492 in state subsidy support. The remainder of our state revenue ($601,667) came from grants, several of which required local matching funds.
Your local public health district has been working closely with other health districts for many years. We do this in order to enhance opportunities to better serve our individual community. Through collaboration and partnerships, we also support and lift up other health districts which are not in a position to receive the needed funding to provide their own local critical public health services.
To have only one health district per county is a local decision and should not be mandated by the state of Ohio. If and when local leadership feels the need to combine health districts within a county or with surrounding counties, it should be the decision of local government, local leadership and residents within a local community, not mandated by the state, especially a state which clearly does not support local public health.
Marjorie S. Broadhead, MBA, RN, RS,
Seneca County health commissioner