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Health departments could be required to merge

WARREN — Health departments in cities with a population under 50,000, like Warren, could face mandates to join their county health districts.

The proposed state budget bill first mandated city departments to merge, but after going through the House Finance Committee, the language has changed to require a study in these cities to determine if the department should merge with the county districts.

HB 110 passed Wednesday in the House, and was introduced Thursday in the state Senate. The Senate could make changes to the language as it moves through the legislative process.

The bill language states it would require “each city with a population less than 50,000 served by a board of health of a city health district to complete a study evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of merging with the general health district that includes the city for the administration of health affairs in the merged general health district,” according to a summary of the bill produced by the Ohio Legislative Service Commission.

The language now states the state director of health and the state auditor will be required to develop criteria to determine whether a merger between the city and county departments is “advisable” and requires the city itself to conduct an evaluation using the criteria.

Read more in Sunday’s Tribune Chronicle.

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