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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: March 3, 2022 04:23 PM
From: Senator Timothy P. Kearney
To: All Senate members
Subject: Repealing Mandate for Duplicative State Health Centers
In light of the creation of the new Delaware County Health Department, I plan to introduce legislation to repeal a statutory amendment introduced in 1996 to require the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) to operate a public state health center in Delaware County.
Act 87 of 1996 amended Act 218 of 1905 (Creation of a Health Department), and included a provision that was intended to prevent the privatization of existing public health centers, including one in Delaware County.  It did this by requiring PA DOH to continue their health service centers in perpetuity, even when a county launches its own public health department – an unintended consequence. 
As the largest county in the country without a health department, Delaware County took the first steps to form its own health department in the months before the pandemic.  With the support and oversight of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Delaware County is officially launching its health department this month.
The new county department will provide personal health services at multiple health centers across the county. Services to be offered this year include tuberculosis management and treatment; testing, treatment, prevention, and investigations of sexually transmitted infections; disease and rabies bite investigations; vaccines for children under 18-years-old for those under-insured or uninsured at no cost to the parent; and a school nurse liaison between the department and the schools. In addition, Environmental Health and Population Health divisions will also provide services and form community partnerships in their respective fields.
The state-run health center is now duplicative and could be closed by DOH if not for this statutory requirement. My legislation would continue to require DOH to operate its state health centers unless a center is in a county which has established its own health department. This would allow DOH to reallocate resources from Delaware County and better manage taxpayer dollars.
Please reach out to Sam Arnold (sam.arnold@pasenate.com) in my office with any questions.

Introduced as SB1131