• Analysis of the Proposed Implementation of a Public Health District in Maricopa County

      Hoffman, Laura; The University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix; England, Bob; Barraza, Leila (The University of Arizona., 2016-03-25)
      Background: Since the number and variety of services that a public health department is able to provide is related to its financial resources, it is important that each department have secure funding. The Public Health District model, in which the public health department is mostly funded by a dedicated public tax, rather than as a dependent on the county’s overall budget, has been proposed as an option for the Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH). This model was implemented in neighboring Pinal County in 2007 and is funded by a 0.1% sales tax. Specific aims: Our study aims are: (1) analyze the current MCDPH funding structure in comparison to other similarly sized county-managed public health departments, as well as review the development and structure of the Pinal County Public Health Services District as a local reference; (2) project the likely financial effects of the implementation of a tax-based Public Health District in Maricopa County; and (3) assess the potential effects on MCDPH management and public health outcomes in Maricopa County. We hypothesize that the implementation of a Public Health District in Maricopa County will secure a source of stable and increased funding and allow for improved public health services. Methods: Specific Aim 1: Budget data for FY 2011-2012 was analyzed for revenue types and percent contribution for each county department in the comparison. Budget data for FY 2003- 2014 for Pinal and Maricopa counties was analyzed in a similar manner. Phone interview with Pinal County Director, Mr. Thomas Schryer, was completed regarding the development of the Public Health District model in Pinal County; Specific Aim 2: Revenue data from the Maricopa County Jail Excise Tax was reviewed and utilized as a proxy to estimate potential income generated by a 0.1% sales tax; Specific Aim 3: The 2012 Maricopa County Community Health Assessment was evaluated to identify areas of need. Results: Specific Aim 1: Funding structures varied greatly between county public health departments, though heavy reliance on government funds was a common theme. Pinal County demonstrated increased funding stability with an increase in overall revenue budget upon implementation of Public Health District model. Specific Aim 2: Estimated revenue from a 0.1% sales tax was calculated to be $70 million in FY 2014-2015, with potential average revenue of $92 million over the next ten years. Specific Aim 3: Top areas for health improvement in Maricopa County include obesity, diabetes, lung cancer, cardiovascular disease and access to care. Conclusion: The current funding structure of the MCDPH follows the trend of other similarly sized county-managed public health departments with a heavy reliance on government funds. The potential revenue generated from a 0.1% sales tax in Maricopa County would be sufficient to significantly decrease the department’s dependence on general county funds and government grants. The result is increased overall funding and financial stability, thus helping the department to better target area needs and improve public health outcomes.