Submitted by the Washington State Department of Health.
Public health support and outcomes are set to improve for all people across Washington state now that Governor Jay Inslee has signed the budget recently passed by the Washington State Legislature. The budget for the current biennium, and future budgets, will allow the Department of Health (DOH), along with its partners in local jurisdictions and tribes, to improve public health across the state.
The new budget provides $147 million to public health for the ’21-’23 biennium, and then $296 million in future biennia. The funds can be used to improve things like the many data management systems used by DOH that are in need of modernization. These systems have been challenged by the significant increase in processing and reporting required during the pandemic.
Other areas that stand to benefit include communicable disease control, environmental public health, maternal and child health, chronic disease and injury prevention, and access to care. While the pandemic shined a bright light on challenged areas, this funding will make possible improvements that will make every Washington safer and healthier.
“The budget passed by the legislature this year will help us address many challenges and needs faced by public health for years,” said Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Secretary of Health. “The changes we make will result in measurable health improvements for all Washingtonians. This will also help us improve equity in health outcomes in Washington, and it will make it easier for DOH to provide better partnerships and support for local health jurisdictions, our tribal partners and the Washington State Board of Health.” Secretary Shah offered praise for the legislature for this forward-thinking approach to public health.