Chapter 111 of the General Laws in hereby amended by inserting after section 27C the following section:-
Section 27D (a). The department shall establish a State Action for Public Health Excellence program to encourage boards of health and regional health districts to adopt practices that will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the delivery of local public health services, in alignment with the recommendations of the Special Commission on Local and Regional Public Health, established in Chapter 3 of the Resolves of 2016. The program shall consist of the activities described in this section.
(b). Subject to appropriation, the department shall provide the foundations of public health course, or similar educational offering, no less than 4 times per year in diverse geographic locations. The department shall provide such course free of charge to employees of boards of health and regional health districts.
(c). (1) Subject to appropriation, the department shall establish a State Action for Public Health Excellence Incentive Fund. Funds shall be made available on a competitive basis and shall support boards of health or regional health districts to engage in regional, inter-municipal collaboration to increase efficiency and effectiveness in delivery of public health services mandated by Massachusetts law. Funding shall supplement and not replace existing state, local, private, or federal funding to boards of health. The department may offer grantees an option to renew at the end of each grant year.
(2) To be eligible to receive funds an applicant must i) submit an application in manner determined by department, ii) describe how it will increase the efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of public health services across two or more municipalities, iii) certify that it meets workforce standards as determined by the department, consistent with the recommendations of the Special Commission on Local and Regional Public Health, iv) certify that it will submit written compliance data to the department at the end of the grant year, in a manner to be prescribed by the department, including but not limited to food inspections, sanitary code reports, and communicable disease reporting, and v) provide a plan for long-term sustainability of the proposed shared services program.
(3) Boards of health or regional health districts may apply for funding and technical assistance to support i) planning and capacity building to organize regional collaboration in alignment with recommendations of the Special Commission on Local and Regional Public Health, or ii) implementation of regional collaboration in alignment with the recommendations of the Special Commission on Local and Regional Public Health.
(4). The department shall adopt rules, regulations or guidelines for the administration and enforcement of this section including, but not limited to, establishing applicant selection criteria, funding priorities, application forms and procedures, grant distribution and other requirements, provided, that not less than 33 per cent of the grants awarded shall go to cities and towns with a median household income below the average of the commonwealth and with at least one neighborhood designated as an environmental justice population as defined in section 3 of chapter 21A of the general laws.
(d). The Special Commission on Local and Regional Public Health shall assess the development of foundational public health services for Massachusetts. For the purposes of this subsection, foundational public health services shall mean a set of minimum standards for municipal public health, including substantive areas of expertise and essential skills and capacities needed to protect the community’s health and achieve equitable health outcomes. In doing so, the commission shall consider recommendations from the National Association of County and City Health Officers, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Public Health Leadership Forum, and other relevant experts. No later than 2 years following passage of this section, the commission shall submit a report to the house committee on ways and means, the senate committee on ways and means, and the joint committee on public health. The report shall include an analysis of needs, opportunities, challenges, timeline, and cost analysis for the implementation of foundational public health services.
(e). The department shall annually submit a report detailing the program’s impact, including but not limited to, the increase in the number of board of health employees that meet workforce standards, the increase in boards of health that are compliant with data reporting requirements, and the increase in the number of boards of health participating in regional collaboration. The report shall be provided to the house committee on ways and means, the senate committee on ways and means, and the joint committee on public health.
(f) For purposes of this section, the term "board of health'' shall include any body politic or political subdivision of the commonwealth that acts as a board of health, public health commission or a health department for a municipality.
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