The daily activities of the Public Health Idaho North Central District are often not visible to the public. When we are successful, it is seldom noticeable unless there is a community crisis or a communicable disease outbreak, like hepatitis or meningitis.
What are Public Health Districts?
We are the direct result of a partnership agreement between the legislature and the counties. The seven independent Public Health Districts which cover all of Idaho's 44 counties provide preventive health services and education for healthy life-style choices. We contract with the Department of Health and Welfare to offer state-mandated programs. We were created by the 1970 Legislature to insure that preventive public health services are available to all citizens of the state - no matter how small or large their county population. The Health Districts accomplish their mission through the following programs and services:
- Public Health Education
- School Health Visits
- Nutritional Services for Infants, Children and Pregnant Women
- Prenatal and Child Health Clinics
- Adult Health Clinics (cholesterol, blood pressure and cancer screenings)
- Drinking Water Inspections
- Solid Waste Services for Ground Water Protection
- Land Development Actions
- Family Planning
- Food Safety (Inspection and Education)
- Communicable Disease Control
- AIDS Education and Testing
- Home Health, Senior Meals and Primary Care (in some areas)
Strategic Plan 2011-2015
Public Health is Prevention and Prevention is Cost Effective
- Every dollar invested in the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Nutrition program reduces the number of low birth-weight infants and saves $3 in hospital costs.
- Every dollar spent on children’s immunizations saves $10 in medical costs.
- Immunizations of older people in Idaho produces a savings of approximately $1.3 million per year in flu epidemic costs.
- For every food-borne illness hospitalization prevented, an estimated $2,255 is saved in direct hospital costs.
The Public Health Districts receive about 31% of their funding from the counties and the state. The other 69% comes from contracts and fees. Joint funding from the county property tax and the state general fund creates a partnership so that all of Idaho's citizens will benefit -- no matter the size, location, or population of the county. The District partnership has served Idaho well since 1971 and has received national attention because of the way it provides decentralized Public Health services designed to meet the unique needs of the citizens of each District.
Idaho is unique...
Idaho's 44 counties are grouped into seven Public Health Districts and are governed by policy boards appointed by the county commissioners in those Districts.
Many states have a separate Public Health Department for each county. In fact, some cities in other states have their own Public Health Departments. While Idaho has only seven Public Health Departments, some states have over a hundred. In other states, health services vary from county to county and city to city depending on local resources. It is no wonder other states are looking at Idaho's model!