“NACCHO thanks Congress for taking this important step toward investing in a stronger public health infrastructure and stands ready to work with Congress and the Administration to ensure swift passage into law.”
— Legislation would invest $7 billion for core public health activities and guarantee a share of funding for local health departments —
Washington, DC, November 3, 2021 — The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), on behalf of the country’s nearly 3,000 local health departments, applauds the inclusion of public health infrastructure funding in the Build Back Better Act and urges swift passage of the legislation.
Legislative text of the Build Back Better Act released last week includes $7 billion to be invested over the next five years on disease-agnostic, flexible funding for core public health activities including health equity activities, workforce development, preparedness, health information and health systems, and epidemiology and disease surveillance. The language also includes important mechanisms to ensure resources reach the community level, with a requirement that each state reallocate 25 percent of its funding to local health departments, while greatly increasing the number of local health departments who would be guaranteed funding from CDC directly.
Throughout COVID-19, local health departments have been leading on the front lines of all aspects of the response, despite beginning the pandemic down over 20 percent of their workforce capacity. As a result, local health departments have been stretched thin, with staff pulled away from other essential areas like food safety, HIV prevention, and opioid overdose prevention. COVID-19 has raised awareness of the importance of the role of local health departments in our nation’s governmental public health partnership to protect the public’s health. However, funding to date—while necessary to address the pandemic—is short-term and focused on one disease. Funding public health infrastructure in the Build Back Better Act would help rebuild the nation’s neglected public health capacity, make longer-term investments to respond to current and future public health challenges, and ensure critical resources reach local health departments.
NACCHO thanks Congress for taking this important step toward investing in a stronger public health infrastructure and stands ready to work with Congress and the Administration to ensure swift passage into law.
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The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) represents the country’s nearly 3,000 local health departments. These city, county, metropolitan, district, and tribal departments work every day to protect and promote health and well-being for all people in their communities. For more information about NACCHO, please visit www.naccho.org.