The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is giving around $15 billion over ten years to public health programs.
Twenty percent of the Community Transformation Grants are targeted for rural and frontier areas. The Zanesville- Muskingum County Health Department’s Dr. Vicki Whitacre says they will not be making any changes immediately, but are looking toward the future.
"We are looking forward to an emphasis on prevention of illness, particularly chronic illness and ability for us to apply for grants and monies in the area to help prevent illness to promote wellness in our community," says Dr. Vicki Whitacre.
Dr. Whitacre estimates around one in four people in Muskingum County do not have insurance. She says she believes with this new program and more money for public health departments, the health of the nation will improve and people will be able to live longer and healthier lives. The law will also give more money to people going into the public health field.
"The public health work force is becoming a little gray or older and there has been a little concern that there would not be people to do public health and we are expecting more support financially for people going to school in the area of public health," tells Dr. Whitacre.
The Zanesville-Muskingum County Health Department will continue with its immunization program. Dr. Whitacre says prevention and public health have always been their mission and it is nice to have recognition for health departments.