WHO WE ARE WHY WE NEED A NEW PLAN FOR PUBLIC HEALTH NEWS DOCUMENTS CONTACT HOME SITE MAP HOME
WHAT ARE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICES WHAT WILL THE PARTNERSHIP DO BACKGROUND EXPANDING A BASE OF SUPPORT BACKGROUND

Drexel Study
Findings from a study conducted by Drexel University School of Public Health to determine the feasibility of a countywide public health department were released in Spring of 2005. The feasibility study, commissioned by the Physicians Taskforce of United Way of Lancaster County's Success By 6, provides information on public health issues and concerns, determines community awareness and support for a public health department in Lancaster County, and ascertains funding requirements and potential funding sources.

The Drexel study identified significant gaps in the coordination of public health services, and some critical deficits in current environmental and personal health services. The key findings from the surveys and resident interviews emphasized several recurring concerns about the current condition of public health:

  • Environmental hazards, known and unknown, such as water quality and lead exposure, solid waste management and vector control
  • Lack of coordination among providers of public health related services
  • Insufficient services to meet the needs of both urban and rural county residents. Other responses from the surveys and interviews indicated concerns with the establishment and operation of a public health department.
  • Emergency preparedness and coordination

Findings from the study recommend a public health department in Lancaster County should be no larger than necessary to meet Pennsylvania Department of Health regulations and identified essential community needs. The study also recommended a public health department should:

  • coordinate public health-related activities throughout the county
  • collect and maintain information on public health-related activities in the county, and monitor the health status of the population
  • be the "go-to" place for residents with public health-related questions, concerns or problems
  • live within its means and always having a stable funding base

Four Years of Exploration
A Steering Committee was formed by numerous physicians, medical organizations and others interested in implementing the ideas generated by the Drexel study. A Project Manger was hired to research and develop a plan that would bring the right public health services to Lancaster County, based on current needs and fiscal realities. The Steering Committee studied the process for creating a local department with hopes of gaining the support of the County Commissioners to pass a resolution.

In February 2007, the Board of Commissioners requested and received a Certificate of Approval from the PA Department of Health, granting the county permission to establish a county health department, if it so chose. However, with a change in members of the Board and the subsequent downturn of the economy, establishing a department was no longer an option for the County.

The Steering Committee was challenged to search for other ways of addressing the gaps in delivery of public health services. Using the momentum already in force and strong community interest, the concept of a private/public partnership emerged, with the hope that someday the effort to create a county department could resume.

The attached documents [see Related Content] make the case for the creation of a county public health department and include a plan for a unique department customized for Lancaster that builds on existing strengths and adds capacity to fill identified gaps in service.

 Act 315
 Case Statement
 Certificate of Approval
 Drexel Report
 The Plan: Lancaster County Public Health
 Steering Committee Members
 Public Health Services in Pennsylvania