Last Friday Indiana Senator Mike Bohacek met with the Marshall County Commissioners and the Marshall County Council in a joint work session to discuss Senate Bill 4.

Senate Bill 4 seeks to restructure the state’s public health system and create a uniform set of standards that Hoosiers can expect when they go to a local health department.

The bill will funnel money to Indiana’s local health departments with an 80-20 match and local governments can choose whether to participate or not. Local health departments that do accept the new funds will be required to provide core public health services determined by the state health department.

Senator Bohacek said the bill doesn’t change operation structurally but there it does change the funding and requires more reporting to the state but there won’t be a loss of local control.  He told them he voted to move the bill out of committee although he has a lot of concerns.  The senator said, “It’s on the Governor’s agenda and a Senate agenda item and the chairman’s bill.”   

Senate Bill 4 touches more than County Health Departments.  There is a shortage of trauma centers in the state.  Bohacek discussed the increase in air ambulance usage and talked about the short time period after trauma when someone needs to be treated.  He told to group that the bill would create some funding for additional trauma centers.

Dr. Byron Holm, Marshall County’s Public Health Officer told Senator Bohacek and the Commissioners and Council he thought the intent of the bill was good.   He told them any money that can be given to the Health Department should be used to educate the citizens to help improve the county’s health and wellness. Dr. Holm noted the main function of the Health Department is to increase health and wellness primarily through prevention.

During the hour-long meeting, Senator Bohacek took notes on the questions raised by the group. He told them he has other questions too about Senate Bill 4.  The senator said, “I want to make sure that the state doesn’t infringe on your decision-making abilities here locally and we also don’t do something that negatively impacts a good thing you are doing.”