Cross-Jurisdictional Sharing of Resources Helps Public Health Departments Deliver Better Services with More Limited Budgets.

 
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Local public health departments are increasingly asked to provide more high-quality public health services, programs, and activities with a substantially limited budget. In response to this challenge, local health departments have developed strategies to continue their level of services and programs while reducing costs, including cross-jurisdictional sharing of resources--equipment, information, or staff--among one or more local health departments across geographic boundaries. Sharing personnel, positions, or services can address existing staff shortages, help jurisdictions make the most of available resources, enhance flexibility, improve communication and coordination, and even add capacity for more or improved services.

"Case Studies in Staff Sharing in Local Public Health," a new report developed by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence (SLGE) with support from the Center for Sharing Public Health Services, provides important insight on key challenges, how the effort was implemented, financial considerations, outcomes, and lessons learned through two case studies of staff-sharing arrangements in New Jersey and Minnesota. Also highlighted are two areas of focus that are critical as local leaders consider sharing staff across jurisdictions: building the business case for cross jurisdictional sharing and evaluating the success of the arrangement.

The first case study examines Gloucester and Salem counties in New Jersey. There, state law requires that counties have a full-time licensed health officer, but allows the flexibility for that health officer to be shared, which is what Gloucester and Salem counties have done since 2014. The case study reports that rather than each bearing the full expense of a health officer position, sharing a position made it both more economical and more efficient. Other benefits cited in the case study...

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