How Arizona can keep the state’s public health system alive
FourFour2A few months ago, Arizona became the latest state to implement a public health emergency declaration, which allows residents to be temporarily declared at risk of death or serious injury.
Now the state is also on the brink of enacting a bill that would require the state to start a comprehensive, statewide health assessment for every resident.
As of this week, the state has received more than 1,600 public health reports from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and officials say they expect to receive more than 5,000 by the end of the month.
The declaration has been a topic of discussion among some legislators, as well as some of the most prominent elected officials in Arizona, including Gov.
Doug Ducey, who was elected on a promise to reform the state health care system.
On Thursday, Duceys office released a statement saying that he and state lawmakers are working with local, state and federal officials to help Arizona continue to operate a system that is capable of maintaining public health and safety.
“Arizona’s public safety and health system remains our highest priority, and we are working hard to ensure that the state continues to meet the highest standards in order to provide our citizens with the services and resources they deserve,” the statement read.
Duceys spokesman Jason Hall confirmed that the governor and members of the Arizona Legislature have been in touch with federal officials and the state secretary of health.
“We’ve been working closely with the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department, and others on a comprehensive plan to maintain our public health infrastructure,” Hall said.
“The state has a public safety system that’s among the best in the country and it’s not going to change without a plan to address the root causes of the problems.”
Ducey was elected last fall with a promise of reforming the state system to make it more accountable and responsive to the public.
He also pledged to improve the health of Arizonans by increasing access to health care and expanding access to mental health care.
But with more than $3 billion in spending cuts under his watch, Duces plan has not been implemented.
Duceies office has repeatedly pointed out that it will save Arizona taxpayers more than it will add to the state debt.
The state also has a $15 million emergency fund and other financial assistance for the uninsured, which could be cut.
Dates for the bill have not yet been released, but lawmakers have already started discussing the measures that would be required to implement the declaration.
Senate President Michael Ghiglia, R-Tempe, has said he is open to considering a declaration as well.
In addition to the declaration, Derecys office has also been working with a number of community partners, including the Arizona Department of Corrections, Arizona Department for Health Care Administration, and the Arizona Chapter of the American Association of University Women, according to Hall.
The bill would also require the Arizona Health Department to submit a plan for improving public health reporting by the states Department of Public Health and Health Services, and to improve information sharing between state and local health agencies.
The state also needs to establish a plan by January 2019 to help ensure Arizona stays on top of new infectious diseases, such as influenza and dengue, Hall said, adding that he believes the state could get to that by the time it passes the bill.
The Arizona Health and Social Services Commission has also received an additional 5,600 reports from federal agencies and agencies of the Department for Disease Prevention and Control, and will soon begin receiving another 5,500, said Doreen Siegel, director of communications for the commission.