Bill to Study Public Health Best Practices Passes the House with County Amendments

A bill that seeks to improve the delivery of public health services across Maryland has passed the House and moves to the Senate Finance Committee.

MACo supports the creation of HB 214’s Commission on Public Health, which will study the State’s response to COVID-19 and the rising tide of overdose dealths, as well as extant racial disparities in maternal mortality and birth outcomes. Local governments also thank the House Health and Government Operations Committee for incorporating county-sponsored amendments into the version of the bill now before the Senate. Specifically, these amendments add more health officer representation to the Commission, ensure that rural, suburban, and urban communities all have a voice, and eliminate redundancies in the composition of the Committee that might slow down their work or distract from the mission at hand.

From the MACo Testimony:

The work of all twenty-four local health departments is responsive to the demand for certain services based on community needs. This variability is reflected in a few ways − from budget distribution and types of clinical specialists on staff to the size and accessibility of the programs offered. Considering the geographic, demographic, and psychographic diversity of our state, the public health needs and services in Allegany County are not the same as those in Anne Arundel County. Recognizing this, counties support amendments offered by the Maryland Association of County Health Officers, to ensure that the composition and outcomes of this commission can sufficiently serve the needs of all Marylanders. Local health departments understand local needs, so it follows that broadened geographic representation from them will benefit the work of this important study.

For more on MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2023 legislative session, visit MACo’s Legislative Tracking Database.