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(INDIANAPOLIS) – The blue-ribbon commission studying Indiana’s public health infrastructure plans to issue its recommendations in July, but it’s offering a general idea of the price tag.

Combined state and local public health funding in Indiana is the 14th-lowest in the country. The commission appointed by Governor Holcomb last year wants to raise that at least to the national average per person. That translates to another $240 million dollars. And Indiana Department of Health chief of staff Shane Hatchett says that’s just for foundational services like immunizations, not other big-ticket items under discussion such as hiring more school nurses or improving access to paramedics.

The commission hasn’t outlined specifics yet on what that money would be spent on, but members say there’s a need for more staff at both the state and local level. The panel also hasn’t issued recommendations on where the money would come from, though Hatchett says one possibility is making greater use of Medicare and Medicaid money for which the state is eligible. He says the state’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts, where authorizations have been routed through the state health department, provides a template for getting reimbursed for more of those expenses.

Commission members agree their final report will need to offer specifics on how increased spending can improve Hoosiers’ health, and a plan for measuring how well it’s working. State health commissioner Kris Box says the goal should be to ensure that all Hoosiers, whether in urban, suburban, or rural areas, can rely on the same access to basic health needs.

The panel plans to hold two more meetings, with final recommendations expected July 21.