As the health care debate continues in Washington D.C., the Hennepin County Community Health Board was just awarded $4.2 million in Statewide Public Health Improvement Program (SHIP) funds to implement 14 programs to improve public health outcomes in the county. The 2008 Minnesota health care reform bill created the $47 million Statewide Public Health Improvement Program (SHIP), a statewide public health competitive grant program for local communities to reduce obesity and smoking rates.
In Hennepin County the funding will be utilized:
• to implement a tobacco free policy at all K-12 and post-secondary schools and school-sponsored events;
• to increase opportunities for non-motorized transportation to community recreation facilities;
• to implement comprehensive employee wellness initiative; and
• to increase consumption of nutritious foods on worksites.
“I was proud to support the 2008 health care reform bill that over the next 10 years will reduce health care costs and improve health care quality," said Representative Lyndon Carlson (DFL-Crystal). “Minnesotans understand how smoking and obesity increase the risk of health complications and are looking for the tools to address these issues in their own lives. SHIP provides those needed tools.”
The SHIP program offers the single greatest opportunity for reducing health care costs in Minnesota -- non-partisan experts estimated the total savings to the state's health care system could be $1.9 billion by 2015. The program is based on federal guidelines and has already been tested as pilot programs in several Minnesota communities. A local match of 10% is required, and communities will be held accountable for making progress towards measurable outcomes.
“Minnesota has been a leader in health reform and I am looking forward for the opportunity to further reform efforts to continue to improve health outcomes for the people of Hennepin County and across Minnesota,” Carlson said.