The Capitol Corner: October 26, 2010

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Commission Likely to Recommend that Public Health Become an Independent Agency
By Scott Maxwell of Mathews & Maxwell, Inc.

The Public Health Commission charged with making recommendations about the organizational structure of Public Health in Georgia met for the fourth time on Monday, October 18.

Rep. Mickey Channell, who championed the bill reorganizing DHR and moving Public Health to DCH, gave a very passionate presentation that Public Health should really be an independent agency. He told Commissioners that DCH is an “accounts payable” agency which should not also be dealing with the intricacies of providing public health services. He argued that money is easily hidden or just gets “lost” in a big agency. He thought having a separate agency would actually save the state money through having better oversight of all funds.

The Commissioners voted to instruct Terri Theisen (contract consultant) to draft a report for their review that recommends Public Health become an independent agency. Becoming an “attached” agency would be the Commission’s back-up preference should complete independence be unattainable.

Others who testified before the Commission include:

Karen Minyard, Director, Georgia Health Policy Center
Assessing Georgia’s Public Health System

Dr. James W. Curran, Dean, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University
Developing an Effective Public Health Structure in Georgia

James Peoples, Executive Director, Office of Health Improvement
The Office of Health Improvement and Public Health

Charles Owens, Executive Director, State Office of Rural Health
The State Office of Rural Health and Public Health

The next meeting of the Public Health Commission is scheduled for November 15, and its final report is due on December 1, 2010.