News: WALHDAB News

Action Alert: Communicable Disease Funding

Wednesday, March 11, 2015  
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Please Urge your State Legislators to Support Communicable Disease Funding

Wisconsin currently has no dedicated, stable funding source for communicable disease control and prevention. As a result, local health departments rarely have sufficient resources, including adequate staff and expertise to support effective communicable disease efforts.

To build a more robust public health infrastructure in Wisconsin and help prevent the spread of communicable diseases, WPHA and WALHDAB are working to increase infectious disease funding in the 2015-2017 state budget bill. We need your help to encourage state lawmakers to support our funding initiative - and avert a potential public health crisis.


The highest priority for public health in Wisconsin and across the country is the control and prevention of communicable disease - both familiar diseases like measles and influenza and emerging threats, such as Ebola and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). Supporting a robust public health infrastructure is critical in a globalized world that provides new opportunities for the emergence and spread of infectious diseases.

Unfortunately, Wisconsin's public health system is woefully underfunded. In fact, according to Trust for America's Health, Wisconsin ranks 46th in the nation for state public health funding for local health departments. The median nationally is $27.49 per capita, but Wisconsin invests only $13.10 per capita. The lack of funding makes it extraordinarily difficult for local health departments to carry out basic communicable disease functions required by the state. Often times, basic follow up and contact tracing investigations are not completed, allowing the opportunity for disease to spread and become a crisis.

Issue Overview: 

As mentioned above, the state does not provide reliable funding for communicable disease control and prevention, leaving the state vulnerable to current and emerging threats. WALHDAB and WPHA is asking the Legislature to provide $5 million in new funding over the upcoming two-year budget cycle to combat communicable disease. Under the proposal, identical base funding would be allocated to all local health departments. A supplemental payment would also be distributed absed on the population served by the local health department. Local departments would use the funding for such communicable disease measures such as disease surveillance; contact tracing; staff development and training; and public education.

What You Can Do To Help:

E-mail your state Senator and state Representative today and urge them to support a stronger public health infrastructure and much-needed funding for communicable disease control and prevention in the 2015-17 state bill.

If you're unsure of who your legislators are, please vist the Who are my Legislators website to find out and obtain the necessary contact information. Please feel free to use this sample e-mail when e-mailing, writing or calling your legislators. In addition, several WPHA-WALHDAB documents are available on the WALHDAB Website that provide more detailed information. Don't hesitate to share them with your legislators to drive home the need to increase communicable disease funding in Wisconsin.

Thank you for your participation.

Talking Points:

  • According to Trust For America's Health, Wisconsin ranks 46th in the nation for state public health funding for local health departments. The median nationally is $27.49 per capita, but Wisconsin invests only $13.10 per capita.
  • Wisconsin currently has no dedicated, stable funding source for communicable disease control and prevention efforts.
  • Supporting a strong public health infrastructure is paramount with the continuing occurrences of natural disasters, terrorist attacks and infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, whooping cough, H1N1 influenza and Ebola.
  • The challenges presented by infectious disease are more complex than they were even a decade ago. New microbes and mutated versions of old ones are being discovered regularly, creating real threats to the United States - including Wisconsin - in today's globalized world. 
  • Infectious disease control is one of the ten essential functions of public health, and with adequate funding, local health departments across Wisconsin will be equipped with the necessary resources and expertise to protect individuals, communities and the entire state from infectious diseases.

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