Myth: Public healths role in a community is to provide medical
services for those who cannot afford care.
Fact: Public healths 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.
Myth: A local public health department would add another layer of
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
Myth: In the event of a health crisis, the countys 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.
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 Lancasters health programs.
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.
Myth: A local department would duplicate or replace services already
provided in the community by organizations like hospitals, health centers,
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
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
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.
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.