Feds sending Pa. $98M for health infrastructure upgrades | Wednesday Morning Coffee

The money will be used to pay for staffing and planning upgrades, as well as data modernization, the state’s top public health official said

By: - December 21, 2022 7:09 am

Acting state Health Secretary/Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson speaks during a news conference at the state Capitol on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022 (Capital-Star photo).

As the Democratic Wolf administration winds down, it’s inevitably taking care of loose ends, and making sure state agencies are ready for the hand-off to Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro and his leadership team.

With weeks to go before that hand-off occurs, Pennsylvania’s public health infrastructure will receive a $98 million infusion of federal funding to pay for staffing and planning and equity upgrades, as well as data modernization efforts, the state’s top public health official said Tuesday.

In addition, a portion of the funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Infrastructure grant program, will be doled out to 10 county and municipal health departments across the commonwealth, officials said. Philadelphia’s health department will receive a separate injection of federal funding under the program.

The funding will “enable the department to make critical investments needed to provide comprehensive public health services to all Pennsylvanians,” state Physician General/acting Health Secretary Dr. Denise Johnson said in a statement.

Nurse Aspara Banjara, vaccinating 11-year-old Chloe Imoisili of Harrisburg on Wednesday at the old Department of Healths vaccination clinic in Kline Plaza in Harrisburg (Commonwealth of Pa. photo).

The funding is broken down into three strategies:

  • Workforce development, including increasing recruitment, hiring, and training public health professionals;
  • Foundational capabilities such as health planning and equity, communications, and information technology; and
  • Data modernization including investing in technology infrastructure to enhance interoperability of data systems to share information with local health departments and the public.

Officials said they’re anticipating additional grant funding across the five-year life of the program, based on performance and the availability of federal funds.

“In addition to focusing on public health workforce development efforts, we will be able to implement responsive and reliable data systems to help ensure the public is prepared for the future by accelerating prevention and preparedness efforts,” Johnson added.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.