Kaiser Health News and AP Investigate the State of the Nation’s Public Health Infrastructure

July 2, 2020 by Mandy Qualls

Filed under COVID-19 for Employers, COVID-19 for the Workforce

Last modified July 6, 2020

A new investigation from Kaiser Health News and the Associated Press reveals an underfunded public health infrastructure that lacks the basic tools to confront the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are some of the key findings of the series’ first story, “Hollowed-Out Public Health System Faces More Cuts Amid Virus”:

  • Since 2010, spending on state health departments has fallen by 16% per capita and in local health departments by 18%
  • At least 38,000 state and local public health jobs have been eliminated since the Great Recession in 2008
  • At least 14 states have already cut or are actively considering cuts to health department budgets and/or positions

As the public health workforce is being asked to continue work such as administering immunization programs, preventing and tracking infectious diseases, health and wellness programs, infant screenings, water and air quality, food and restaurant inspections, etc., the workforce is being stretched thinner as the COVID-19 pandemic adds additional duties, such as contact tracing, preparedness planning, and public health education.

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