Public Health Transformation
The Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH) launched Public Health Transformation (PHT) in January 2019 to provide a breakdown of public health programs into core public health programs including mandated foundational programs like disease investigation and environmental regulations as well as other programs including WIC, HANDS and programs designed to address substance use disorders while other programs are categorized as local health priorities and considered optional for local health departments.
The PHT framework reclassifies programs into core public health categories including foundational services, most of which are legislatively mandated, along with HANDS, WIC and programs to address community-wide substance use disorders and other programs referred to as local public health priorities – programs local health departments can choose to provide based on need and financial feasibility.
The initial purpose for PHT was to establish a framework for local health departments to regain financial stability; however, the urgency to radically overhaul Kentucky's public health system stems from the necessity to improve the overall health of its citizens which consistently ranks among the poorest in the country.
Public Health Transformation Goals
Ensure equitable access to public health services across the commonwealth
Increase focus on population health
Promote fiscal responsibility
Optimize internal capacity
With the passage of House Bill 129, Public Health Transformation became law in 2020 and led to statutory amendments that categorized public health programs (KRS 211.185), emphasized local needs assessments (KRS 211.187) and established a new funding formula for local health departments (KRS 211.186).
Public Health Transformation: Relaunch was initiated in July 2020. Despite the priority placed on current resources during the height of the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, KDPH recognized the need to continue efforts toward public health transformation. A PHT project team was named to manage the statewide PHT planning initiative including the revision of KDPH Strategic Plan. Therefore, PHT was used as the primary tool for strategic planning throughout the department and with its partners.
Under the guidance of the PHT project team with assistance and commitment of Performance Management and Quality Improvement staff, it was determined that PHT would develop and promote initiatives necessary to advance comprehensive overhaul of the state public health system.
- PHT laws
Plan review including the strategic plan
Health equity is integral to PHT and will be taken into consideration through all discussions, actions and recommendations.
Communication is fundamental to maintain transparency at all levels in KDPH and ensure collaborative and cohesive messaging.
PHT supports a culture of change wherein everyone is encouraged to challenge the status quo and reach outside normal program delivery to explore new ways to offer services to improve health outcomes and health access.
For more information, contact Jan Chamness, MPH, PHT Director.