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WHAT ARE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICES WHAT WILL THE PARTNERSHIP DO BACKGROUND EXPANDING A BASE OF SUPPORT MYTHS AND FACTS

  1. Myth: Public health’s role in a community is to provide medical services for those who cannot afford care.

    Fact: Public health’s role is to protect the community from health threats by preventing, identifying, investigating, and eliminating possible threats and coordinating existing services to assure an effective local response to emergent local public health concerns. It is not health care.

  2. Myth: A local public health department would add another layer of government.

    Fact: A local department would streamline public health services by consolidating into one local office the services currently offered through three separate state-level departments – Health, Agriculture, and Environmental Protection.

  3. Myth: In the event of a health crisis, the county’s Emergency Management Agency and local hospitals would manage the situation.

    Fact: In the absence of a local health department, the PA Dept. of Health would be in charge, managing the crisis in Lancaster as well as across the state, from their offices in Harrisburg. Both EMA and local hospitals would have critical roles to play in the event of a local health crisis, but neither is responsible for overall management.

  4. Myth: A county health department would increase taxes for everyone.

    Fact: A tax increase is not needed. 85% of a county health department would be paid for by state funds allocated by law for local health departments, federal and state grants, and tax dollars or fees we are already paying. The remaining funds would come from local funders and the County budget. A local department would access new dollars for Lancaster’s health programs.

  5. Myth: Public health services are adequately provided by state departments.

    Fact: With local control, a local health department would be more effective and could respond more quickly than a large state bureaucracy responsible for the commonwealth as a whole. Leaders in the PA Department of Health are urging local governments to create their own health departments.

  6. Myth: A local department would duplicate or replace services already provided in the community by organizations like hospitals, health centers, and others.

    Fact: A local public health department would not eliminate the need for existing providers. It would partner with community organizations and would not offer direct patient care. The department would share 20% of its revenue in contracts with local providers to deliver mandated public health services.

  7. Myth: A local health department would add scrutiny to environmental laws so that farmers and others would encounter new barriers.

    Fact: A county health department would continue the current practice of involving local farmers in complaint resolution. It would use local employees to uphold existing laws, and would follow the lead set by the federal and state government.

  8. Myth: A local department would mandate childhood immunizations and require that private wells pass regular inspections.

    Fact: A county health department would be required to uphold existing laws, the same as current government entities; any changes to those laws to make them more strict would need to be approved by the county Board of Commissioners upon recommendation from the Board of Health.

  9. Myth: A local health department will make it impossible for nonprofits to sell food at fundraisers.

    Fact: Nonprofit organizations would need to continue to meet food safety guidelines, as currently required. Consistent enforcement provided by local department employees would assure the public of food safety.

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