Cost-Effectiveness in Public Health

Grantee: Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

For decades, public health practitioners and policymakers have called for cost-effectiveness data to inform their budgeting decisions. These decisions have become increasingly difficult in recent years. To understand how public health spending relates to population health outcomes, the de Beaumont Foundation funded a team at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to examine an untapped longitudinal dataset on governmental spending.

These data come from the U.S. Census of State and Local Governmental Finance datasets. Despite having been collected for over 50 years, the Census data on public health spending have not been utilized to examine how state and local spending affects the health of the American people. Making the Census data more usable will allow the public health systems research community to move beyond existing public health spending estimates, which are limited to spending by state and local health departments.

Census spending captures public health spending inside and outside of health departments across all sectors of government. This dataset improved understanding of total government public health spending, documented the effect of public health spending on health outcomes, and analyzed the cost-effectiveness of public health spending.