Comprehensive data is the most valuable resource that public health organizations can use when making funding decisions. Given the waves of budget cuts that have been washing over local health districts since 2008, public health finance data has never been more relevant.
The third public health finance issue of the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice (JPHMP) includes this editorial, which summarizes recent accomplishments and current challenges.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), The National Association of County & City Health Officials (NACCHO), the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have all pushed forward the standardization of public health finance data collection.
- A long chain of decisions and actions links the allocation of dollars to a program and its outcome.
- Working with limited data, past cost/benefit analysis has weighed the relative impact of program type, effectiveness of staff and practitioner reactions to measures of quality.
In the future, public health finance experts will employ standardized data sets collected at the local and national levels to weigh budget cuts between a menu of programs. JPHMP has released its third issue devoted to public health finance.