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Study ranks Arizona third-lowest for public health spending


PHOENIX — Arizona is the third-worst in the nation when it comes to spending state dollars on public health programs, according to a new study.

Cara Christ, director of Arizona’s Department of Health Services said about $64 million from the state a year covers the state lab, data collection and administrative costs.

“There’s a lot of things the department does that don’t get any funding, such as licensing those homes for the developmentally disabled,” Christ said.

She also said Arizona and other states are still trying to get funding above pre-Great Recession levels.

“There’s always things we can do more of, but we do get a lot of federal funds for a lot of the programs that Arizonans rely on,” she said.

That reaches about $250 million each year.

“That did start with the eRA grants (for gathering health data) that we got here in the department,” Christ said. “We’ve gotten a lot of cooperative agreements for things like Ebola and immunizations.”

The numbers come from the State Health Access Data Center, which ranked Washington, D.C., Alaska and Hawaii as the top states for per-capita dollars devoted to public health programs.

Only Missouri and Nevada were worse than Arizona.

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