By Brianna Pitts
WARSAW — After much discussion, the Kosciusko County Health Board has decided to accept funding from the state through Governor’s Public Health Commission — Health First Indiana.
Sheila Paul, the new regional administrator for the Indiana Department of Health, attended a July 17 board meeting to talk through any questions the board might have. This funding will provide roughly $225 million to the participating counties in 2024-2025. Paul explained this would be considered new money, taking the place of local health maintenance funding and trusts, but would give the counties significantly more money to fund different projects and programs related to health in the community.
Health First Indiana would also provide resources to the region such as a public health nurse, a specialist for maternal and child care, a data analyst, financial analyst and more.
To participate, the board must give the state a loose budget of what they would like to do with the money which would roughly be about $3 million.
The main concern brought to the board by Dr. William Remington was the lack of infrastructure necessary to enter into this amount of funding, fearing they would not be able to create a budget by the Sept. 1 deadline.
Currently the county has one administrator, Bob Weaver, and would need a team to be able to accomplish the work. Paul suggested making an advisory council to possibly share the responsibility when making the financial decisions, modeling it similarly to the Kosciusko County Community Foundation.
With many considerations and solutions brought before the board, County Commissioner Cary Groninger voiced his support for the funding and encouraged the board to pass it through for the betterment of the community’s health.
After approving the funding, the board agreed they needed an additional meeting to discuss how they were going to build this infrastructure in order to succeed.
This meeting will take place at 6 p.m. Tuesday, August 15.