A coalition of local officials, advocates and lawmakers unveiled legislation Wednesday that aims to accelerate improvements to the state’s decentralized public health system, which has faced increasing strain during the coronavirus pandemic.
The proposal, which has not yet been filed, would again direct the state Department of Public Health to set minimum public health standards across the 351 municipal health agencies in Massachusetts. The bill would set a timeline for communities to reach those standards.
The standards would aim to standardize the responsibilities for and expectations of health agents that are tasked with inspecting restaurants, enforcing tobacco regulations, tracking EEE infections and, most recently, a growing list of testing and enforcement measures in response to COVID-19, according to coalition members.
The bill would also offer incentives to municipalities to share services, require a dedicated stream of revenue for public health departments and direct DPH to create a uniform data collecting