NH wants a wholesome state finances

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The COVID-19 pandemic has affected each group throughout New Hampshire and illuminated how race, place and earnings can have an effect on an individual’s well being, and even survival, within the Granite State. Now that Nationwide Public Well being Week as come to an in depth, we wish to replicate on the American Public Well being Affiliation’s theme of Constructing Bridges to Higher Well being.

At New Futures and the N.H. Public Well being Affiliation, constructing a bridge to higher well being means rebuilding from these challenges right into a more healthy and extra equitable state as we enter the start of the top of this international pandemic. To take action, we want a powerful public well being system that extends far past addressing the speedy challenges of the pandemic and promotes well being fairness for each particular person in each group.

Over the past yr, COVID-19 has stretched a lot of our public well being methods and employees to their restrict. Psychological well being and substance use remedy suppliers, childcare professionals, lecturers, mother and father and caregivers, are amongst so many others. The significance of investing in a powerful well being system has by no means been clearer. To beat the pandemic and rebuild as a greater, extra inclusive State, we urge our lawmakers to prioritize funding in public well being initiatives, together with behavioral well being prevention, remedy, and restoration packages; kids’s behavioral well being companies; and early childhood helps.

Final week, the New Hampshire Home of Representatives handed its state finances proposal, HB 1 and HB 2. Whereas the finances contains some important well being funding, it additionally comes up brief in assembly the wants of communities as they try to get better from the pandemic. We’re relieved that the governor and Senate leaders have voiced their issues for the Home finances, and we look ahead to working beside them to cross a wholesome state finances that helps the well being and wellness of all Granite Staters.

The Senate has began crafting its finances proposal and we glance to them for management in rebuilding a greater state for all. On behalf of public well being advocates throughout the state, we urge our senators to beat crucial gaps within the Home finances proposal and handle the next areas of want:

Funding for Neighborhood Well being Staff (CHWs) at every of the state’s 13 Public Well being Networks. CHWs are frontline liaisons between well being and social companies and the group. As trusted members of their communities, CHWs enhance entry, high quality and cultural competence of companies. Analysis exhibits that CHWs can successfully enhance well being outcomes, cut back well being care prices and bridge gaps in well being disparities.

Help the Scholar Mortgage Reimbursement Program (SLRP) for healthcare employees in underserved areas of NH. These funds characterize a crucial funding serving to to recruit and retain main, behavioral and different care employees, and finally assist guarantee all residents have entry to well being care companies.

Full funding for tobacco prevention and cessation by way of My Life, My Give up, which makes a speciality of adolescent vaping. New Hampshire has seen a fast enhance in Digital Nicotine Supply Methods (ENDS) or e-cigarette merchandise amongst highschool aged youth. This program will fill a significant hole in cessation companies which have been historically targeted solely on tobacco with an grownup viewers. Tobacco prices the state of New Hampshire $729 million. Investing in prevention will cut back these prices and save taxpayer {dollars}.

Funding in main prevention like Household Useful resource Facilities and Residence Visiting. These confirmed prevention companies play a crucial function selling the wellbeing of households and wholesome childhood growth by serving to households navigate troublesome conditions and construct on their very own protecting elements.

Along with these crucial funding areas, we glance to our senators and Gov. Sununu to place an finish to a number of dangerous provisions included within the Home finances that suggest to abolish the Enforcement Division of the N.H. Liquor Fee, jeopardizing the secure operation of alcohol institution; ban dissemination of sure “divisive ideas” like unconscious bias associated to intercourse and race which are crucial to addressing public well being disparities throughout New Hampshire; defund important reproductive well being care suppliers throughout a pandemic; and get rid of $50 million and 226 positions from the state Division of Well being and Human Companies in “again of the finances” cuts that might restrict our means to reply to and overcome COVID-19.

Investing in public well being exhibits higher well being outcomes and decrease well being spending general. Please proceed to make your voice heard in help of rebuilding a more healthy Granite State. To make sure investments within the well being and wellness of residents, name your lawmakers and have interaction within the legislative course of. Make your voices heard. Now’s the time to prioritize sustained funding within the wellbeing of NH for a more healthy tomorrow.

(Michele Merritt is president and CEO of New Futures. April Mottram is government director of the N.H. Public Well being Affiliation.)

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