The vast majority of Indiana’s counties opted to participate in a statewide program designed to revamp the state’s public health investment — which averages $55 per resident, far below the national average of $91 per capita.
Gov. Eric Holcomb celebrated the commitment, which requires participating counties to offer several “core” public health initiatives to receive funding, and will reach 96% of Hoosiers. The recommendation legislation emerged from the Governor’s Public Health Commission, which lawmakers codified in the last legislative session.
“From the beginning of the public health commission, we were committed not just to identifying problems, but to solving Indiana’s pressing health problems in a way that meets the unique needs of Hoosiers, regardless of where they live,” Holcomb said in a statement. “Communities across the state are recognizing this 1,500% increased state investment as a game-changer for Hoosiers not just today but for generations to come.”
Each county had until Sept. 1 to finalize their decision and ultimately 86 of the 92 counties joined. Last month, the Indiana Capital Chronicle called several local public health departments to determine their participation, with some saying the timing simply wasn’t right while others were concerned about state control.
The six counties that didn’t opt in — Whitley, Wells, Fountain, Johnson, Crawford and Harrison — can still participate in the 2025 cohort.
Prior to the program, called Health First Indiana, the state’s public health investment was around $6.9 million, compared to the 2024 commitment of $75 million followed by $150 million in 2025.
Counties qualify for a range of funding, depending on whether they meet specific goals and their county matching amount. To see a map of what participating counties could receive, visit healthfirstindiana.com.
Dr. Lindsay Weaver, the state health commissioner, said she had traveled to various counties to discuss public health goals and found local stakeholders “embracing the opportunity” to focus on disease prevention and to improve physical well-being.
“In every community I visit, I hear about exciting new partnerships and programs that are breaking down silos and bringing public health, nonprofits, community groups and health care together to deliver local solutions to improve Hoosiers’ health,” Weaver said in the release. “Good health is the foundation on which successful families, businesses and communities are built. By providing the financial resources and renewing the focus on prevention, Indiana is in the best position it has ever been to create the safest, healthiest state possible.”
Caption: Gov. Eric Holcomb celebrated the commitment of 86 counties to the new state program to improve public health investments. (Casey Smith/Indiana Capital Chronicle)
This story originally was published in the Indiana Capital Chronicle, which is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Indiana Capital Chronicle maintains editorial independence. Follow Indiana Capital Chronicle on Facebook and Twitter.