Department of Public Health

 

 

At a Glance

 

J. ROBERT GALVIN, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., Commissioner

Norma D. Gyle, R.N., Ph.D., Deputy Commissioner

Established Ė 1878

Statutory authority - CGS Chap. 368a, Sections 19a-1a et seq.

Central office - 410-450 Capitol Avenue,

†††† †††† Hartford, CT 06106

Number of employees Ė 804

Recurring operating expenses -

††††††††††† Federal:$126,472,442

††††††††††† State:$88,039,415

††††††††††††††† Additional Funds:$23,156,908

Organizational structure -

  • Administration Branch
  • Affirmative Action Office
  • Communications Office
  • Government Relations Office
  • Health Care Systems Branch

         Laboratory/Mobile and Surge Hospital Liaison

  • Local Health Administration Branch
  • Operations Branch
  • Oral Public Health Office
  • Planning Branch
  • Public Health Initiatives Branch
  • Public Health Laboratory
  • Regulatory Services Branch
  • Research and Development Office

 

 

Mission

†††† To protect and improve the health and safety of the people of Connecticut by:

         Assuring the conditions in which people can be healthy;

         Promoting physical and mental health, and

         Preventing disease, injury, and disability.

Statutory Responsibility

††† The Department of Public Health (DPH) is the stateís leader in public health policy and advocacy.The agency is the center of a comprehensive network of public health services, and is a partner to local health departments for which it provides advocacy, training and certification, technical assistance and consultation, and specialty services such as risk assessment that are not available at the local level.The agency is a source of accurate, up-to-date health information to the Governor, the Legislature, the federal government and local communities.This information is used to monitor the health status of Connecticutís residents, set health priorities and evaluate the effectiveness of health initiatives.The agency is a regulator focused on health outcomes, maintaining a balance between assuring quality and administrative burden on the personnel, facilities and programs regulated.The agency is a leader on the national scene through direct input to federal agencies and the United States Congress.

 

Public Service

Administration Branch

††† The Administration Branch assures that department-wide administrative activities are coordinated and accomplished in an effective and efficient manner.The branch provides the following services across the agency:

 

Contracts and Grants Management

         Provides oversight and administration of approximately 700 contracts with total funding of approximately $260 million

         Provides support services to the department in the following contracting areas: training/education, fiscal oversight, compliance with state and federal regulations, contract budget planning, and liaisons with the Office of Policy Management, Office of the Attorney General, and the Department of Administrative Services.

         Administers the Public Health Foundation of Connecticut, Inc.

 

Fiscal Office

†† Administers budget planning and preparation, monitoring of state and federal grant expenditures, revenue accounting, accounts payable/receivable, and purchasing, including emphasis for procurement activities from small and minority-owned vendors; provides mail services and inventory control; provides agency grantees and their auditors a single point of contact for accounting and audit issues related to grants and contracts; provides technical assistance to contracting units within the department and monitors the final financial settlement of agency grants and contracts.

 

Human Resources

††† Provides comprehensive personnel management to the department, including labor relations for seven bargaining units and managerial/confidential employees, recruitment, merit system administration, performance appraisal review, statistical personnel status reports, payroll, fringe benefit administration, classification work for appropriate job titles, and Performance Assessment and Recognition System for managers.

 

Public Health Hearing Office

††† The Public Health Hearing Office presides over hearings and renders decisions concerning:

  • Licensing actions involving individual healthcare providers who do not have licensing boards
  • Appeals of orders issued by local health directors
  • The Women, Infants and Childrenís (WIC) Program
  • Need for new or expanded service hearings concerning emergency medical service providers
  • Disciplinary actions against day care, youth camp licensees, and health care facility licensees (e.g., long term care facilities)
  • Voluntary and involuntary transfers of water companies/Appeals of orders issued to water companies
  • Involuntary discharges from long-term care facilities

 

†††† The office also investigates Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities claims, provides support for 15 professional licensing boards, responds to ethics questions, provides ethics and diversity training, and ensures compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).

 

Affirmative Action Office

††† The Department of Public Health is strongly committed to the principles, policies and practices of affirmative action and equal employment opportunity in all agency programs and services.The Affirmative Action Office ensures that the agency is in compliance with all applicable state and federal laws.The office provides quality services, develops applicable policies and also implements other programs, such as contract compliance, small business set-aside, employee assistance, and Americans with Disabilities Act compliance.

 

Communications Office

††† The Office of Communications directs a full range of communication activities that serve the department and its stakeholders.Key functions of the office include public information, freedom of information, media and community relations, marketing communications, issues management and public affairs, Internet services, internal communications, and crisis and emergency risk communications.These and other communication activities serve to manage the departmentís reputation as the stateís leader in public health policy and advocacy, and achieve its mission to protect and improve the health and safety of the people of Connecticut.†††

 

Government Relations Office

††† The Government Relations Office is responsible for the full range of legislative and regulatory information and referral activities, including:

  • Management and development of the departmentís legislative and regulatory programs and the implementation of strategies to achieve the goals of the departmentís legislative agenda.
  • Track and analyze public health related legislation.Once codified into statute, ensure the implementation of approved legislation.
  • Coordinates the development of the agency's regulations.
  • Acts as the commissionerís liaison to the General Assembly, congressional delegation, community-based organizations, private sector organizations and other public interest groups.
  • Coordinates the maintenance and answers questions concerning the Public Health Code.
  • Assists in the development of the departmentís informational materials and publications.
  • Participate in special projects, workgroups and taskforces.

 

Health Care Systems Branch

††† The Health Care Systems Branch regulates access to health care professions and provides regulatory oversight of health care facilities and services.The branch protects public health by ensuring competent and capable health care service providers.The branch consists of three major program components, which have responsibility for implementing state licensure and federal certification programs.The branch has the authority to investigate and take disciplinary action against providers, who are in violation of the law or otherwise pose a risk to public health and safety.

 

††† The branch consists of the following sections and programs:

 

Facility Licensing & Investigations

         Licensing, certification and investigations of healthcare institutions, including:

o   Ambulatory care services

o   Clinical laboratories

o   Dialysis facilities

o   Home care and hospice services

o   Hospitals

o   Intermediate care facilities for the mentally retarded

o   Nursing homes

o   Substance abuse and mental health treatment facilities

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

Practitioner Licensing and Investigations

         Licenses, certifies and registers health practitioners in 55 professions

         Investigates consumer complaints and other practice related issues involving licensed/certified/registered health care practitioners

         Administers the Connecticut Nurse aide registry

         Monitors the Physician Profile program

 

Legal Office

         Criminal background checks program

         Prosecution of regulated entities

         Legislative and regulatory support

 

Laboratory/Mobile and Surge Hospital Liaison

††† The Laboratory/Mobile Field Hospital Liaison is the Commissioner's liaison for agency infrastructure projects.Initiatives are ongoing to: design and build a new state-of-the-art Public Health Laboratory; implement a new Laboratory Information Management System; support the operational development of a Mobile Field Hospital (Ottilie W. Lundgren Memorial Mobile Field Hospital); and improve isolation care capacity in acute care hospitals statewide.

 

Local Health Administration Branch

††† The Local Health Administration Branch is the primary interface and liaison between the department and Connecticutís local health departments/districts (LHDs).Responsibilities include:

 

  • Advising the Commissioner on the approval of appointments of local directors of health and acting directors of health
  • Coordinating and providing an orientation for new directors of health
  • Providing technical assistance and consultation to Department of Public Health programs, local health directors, local officials and residents on local public health issues and health promotion activities
  • Administering per capita grants-in-aid for LHDs
  • Planning and coordinating the Commissionerís semi-annual meeting for local directors of health
  • Maintaining a current local health department / district database
  • Collecting annual reports from local health departments and analyzing data to monitor activities to assure compliance with Connecticut statutes
  • Working with local health departments to integrate and promote integration of the National Public Health Performance Standards
  • Maintaining and developing Connecticutís Health Alert Network (HAN) and assisting local health departments with the development of local HANs
  • Strengthening Connecticutís public health infrastructure by collaborating with other Department of Public Health programs, state and federal agencies and professional organizations
  • Providing guidance and financial assistance to part-time health departments to become full-time health departments or to form or join other health districts
  • Participating in regional emergency preparedness planning initiatives
  • Maintaining the virtual Office of Public Health Nurses to collaborate and coordinate public health nursing activities at the state and local level

 

 

Operations Branch

 

Emergency Medical Services

††† The Emergency Medical Services section administers and enforces emergency medical services statutes, regulations, programs and policies.Responsibilities include:

         Developing the Emergency Medical Services Plan and training curriculum

         Approving and overseeing the five Regional Emergency Medical Services Council work plans and contracts and rollout of a new national standard curriculum

         Regulatory oversight of licensing and certifying emergency response personnel and licensing and certifying provider organizations, facilities and approving sponsor hospital designations

         Conducting complaint investigations

         Coordinating emergency planning with the Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (DEMHS)

         Integrating statewide electronic EMS data collection

         Trauma Center Designations

 

Informatics

†† The Informatics section directs information technology functions of the agency.Responsibilities include strategic planning, maintaining critical agency infrastructure and providing help desk services to agency employees along with outside organizations with interfaces to agency systems.The section works with the Department of Information Technology to provide service level support for application development and infrastructure to support programs.The section also provides oversight and maintenance of over 100 application support agency programs.

 

Public Health Preparedness

††† The Public Health Preparedness section is responsible for the design, development and implementation of the departmentís public health emergency plans and initiatives.The section ensures compliance with state and federal mandates with respect to public health preparedness, and is responsible for identifying and securing grants in support of the stateís public health preparedness efforts.Within the departmentís incident command structure, the section provides operational management.This section also coordinates the CDC Public Health Emergency Preparedness and HRSA Hospital Bioterrorism grant submissions.This includes outfitting and operations of a 100 bed mobile field hospital.

 

Oral Health Office

†† The Office of Oral Health strives to promote health and reduce disease and health disparities in Connecticut through enhanced oral health and oral health care access.The office works to build the public health infrastructure for oral health within the Department of Public Health and throughout Connecticut in order to reduce the prevalence and impact of oral diseases and conditions and to enhance oral health care access.Goals of the office also include implementing effective, culturally appropriate oral health promotion and disease prevention programs that adopt, adapt and enhance best practices.The office also works to centralize, coordinate, enhance and integrate oral health data, information and monitoring systems to detect disease, inform policy, and evaluate programs.

 

†††† The office has three areas of focus:

 

Oral Health Surveillance and Planning

  • Building an ongoing oral health surveillance system
  • Developing and maintaining a state oral health improvement plan

 

Oral Health Education and Training

Providing oral health communication and education to policymakers and the public to increase awareness of oral health issues.

 

Oral Health Programs and Services

Leveraging resources to adequately fund oral health programs

Building community capacity to implement community level interventions

 

Planning Branch

 

††† The Planning Branch is responsible for the promotion, enhancement, and protection of: health data collection, monitoring, analysis, and reporting; public health planning and policy development; and training and professional development activities.The branch provides information and support for collaborative health policy decisions, integrated state health planning activities, and coordinated training programs.

 

†††† The branch consists of five sections:

 

Office of Multicultural Health

  • Leads state and local partners in addressing multicultural health issues through the Connecticut Multicultural Health Partnership, which is composed of representatives of non-government organizations, groups representing specific race or ethnic populations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, community agencies, professional and advocacy organizations, voluntary health organizations, state commissions, policy leaders, government human service agencies, academia, and others.
  • Promotes Cultural Competencies

 

Health Information Systems and Reporting

  • Maintains the statewide registry for births, deaths, marriages and civil unions
  • Provides vital record data to the Centers for Disease Control/National Center for Health Statistics as part of the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program
  • Maintains the state paternity registry and collaborates with the Department of Social Services and obstetric hospitals to encourage unwed couples to establish paternity
  • Processes all adoptions for Connecticut-born children, foreign-born children adopted by Connecticut residents, and adoptions finalized in Connecticut
  • Proposes legislation, develops appropriate procedures and systems to support the implementation of the Federal Intelligence Reform Act and the Real ID Act of 2005
  • Analyzes and reports on vital statistics, hospital discharge, and hospital quality of care data
  • Collects medical and demographic data for morbidity and mortality research, public health planning, and the annual registration report
  • Manages all federal and state reporting for the Preventive Health and Health Services block grant
  • Administers the national Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey
  • Administers the Connecticut School Health Survey
  • Oversees the Health Professional Shortage Area and National Interest Waiver processes
  • Manages the Biomedical Research Program
  • Manages the Health Information Technology Planning process as mandated by Public Act 07-2, Section 68
  • Calculates, certifies, and publishes the annual population estimates of 169 Connecticut municipalities for years between the decennial U.S. census enumerations
  • Provides surveillance of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes
  • Improves the infrastructure for data and surveillance related to health disparities

 

CT Tumor Registry and Epidemiological Research

  • Maintains the Connecticut Tumor Registry, a population-based resource for examining cancer patterns in Connecticut.The registryís electronic database of over 802,000 cancers includes all reported tumors diagnosed in Connecticut residents from 1935 through 2006, as well as treatment, follow-up and survival data.All hospitals and private pathology laboratories in Connecticut are required by law to report cancer cases to the registry.State confidentiality laws restrict access to the identities of all patients reported to the registry.The registry is also one of only 10 statewide, federally funded Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) sites in the country, selected by the National Cancer Institute for their ability to manage a cancer reporting system.SEER data are believed to be generally representative of cancer rates for the entire United States.
  • Provides epidemiologic consultation to programs within the department and other agencies doing public health research
  • Oversees review and approval of research applications from researchers who want to use department data

 

State Health Planning

  • Provides support and technical assistance to the department, other state agencies and policymakers in assessing public health resource needs and setting public health priorities
  • Develops and manages workgroups to assure comprehensive and coordinated planning processes within the department
  • Identifies and partners with community stakeholders on planning and program development
  • Develops and maintains the Stateís Health Plan and Public Health Emergency Response Plan
  • Conducts surveys of hospitals and managed care organizations as part of the Community Benefits Reporting Program
  • Assesses health status and health services of Connecticut residents as part of the Healthy Connecticut 2000 and 2010 projects
  • Manages and administers the departmentís virtual Office of Genomics

 

Workforce and Professional Development

  • Enhances public health worker competencies through the creation of a DPH Training Center
  • Supports and promotes preparedness and response training opportunities
  • Enhances distance learning technology and promotes online learning opportunities
  • Evaluates training and education provided to the public health workforce
  • Monitors public health and health care workforce issues

 

Public Health Initiatives Branch

 

††† The Public Health Initiatives Branch improves and protects the health of Connecticut's residents using a variety of methods:a) through the promotion of primary and preventive health care at every stage of life and through the identification of risk factors that contribute to chronic and infectious diseases; b) through the collection of data to assess and improve individual and population health; c) through disease surveillance and linked intervention activities such as patient counseling, public education, provision of vaccines or medicines, organization of special clinics; and d) through planning and development of a flexible emergency-response capability to address emerging disease problems such as West Nile virus and possible bioterrorism events such as anthrax or smallpox.

 

†††† The branch consists of the following sections:

 

AIDS and Chronic Diseases

 

HIV/AIDS Prevention Unit

†††† To support interventions that are designed to prevent HIV and AIDS in local communities through counseling, testing and referral, perinatal HIV testing, comprehensive risk counseling services, Syringe Exchange Program, Drug Treatment Advocate Program, and DEBIs (Diffusion of Effective Behavioral Intervention Project which combines outreach, individual, group, and community level interventions.)These funds are competitively bid into community contracts.

 

AIDS Health Care and Support Services Unit

†††† To provide medical and support services to individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS. This program functions as payer of last resort, and provides HIV/AIDS medications, case management, primary/outpatient care, oral health care, substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment, nutritional counseling, housing, emergency financial assistance, transportation to medical appointments, food bank and nutritional supplements.These funds are competitively bid into community contract.The largest of these programs is the Connecticut AIDS Drug Assistance Program ($11.5 million) and is provided through a contract with the Connecticut Department of Social Services.

 

HIV/AIDS and Viral Hepatitis Surveillance Unit

†††† Federal funds are used to systematically collect, analyze, interpret, and disseminate information about trends in HIV/AIDS and Viral Hepatitis in Connecticut.This information is used by a variety of state and federal agencies to develop policies and allocate funding for local prevention and care needs.Surveillance data is also used by media outlets to describe HIV/AIDS in Connecticut.Local health departments, non-governmental organizations and agencies, hospitals, physicians, students, and others also use HIV/AIDS surveillance data.Other important functions of the surveillance system at the state and national level include identification of clusters, unusual cases of transmission, emerging genetic variants, and drug-resistant strains.

 

Chronic Diseases Unit

Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention

Diabetes Prevention and Control

Hepatitis Prevention

 

†††† These programs seek to reduce the burden of these diseases through public-private partnerships, small contracts into the community to provide prevention and disease management services, public awareness, and development of population-based strategies for primary and secondary prevention. Program examples include the development and dissemination of a Diabetes Prevention and Control Plan, DPH recognition of HEARTSafe Communities, and DPH recognized primary stroke care center designation. Hepatitis prevention includes improving the health of communities through immunizations and testing, increased education of risk factors, and improving referral and treatment options.All chronic diseases programs have a top priority of eliminating disparities based on geography, gender, race or ethnicity, or income.

 

Family Health

†††† The Family Health section is comprised of the following units:

 

         Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (medical homes and newborn hearing screening)

         School and Adolescent Health (School Based Health Centers)

         Primary Care and Prevention(Community Health Centers, Family Planning, Rape Prevention Education and Case Management for Pregnant Women)

         Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology

 

Health Education, Management and Surveillance (HEMS)

†††† The Health Education, Management and Surveillance section is comprised of the following units:

 

  • Women, Infant and Children (WIC) Supplemental Food Program
  • Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Prevention Program
  • Asthma Prevention Program
  • HEMS Epidemiology Unit
  • Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Program
  • Injury Prevention Program
  • Comprehensive Cancer Program
  • State Loan Repayment Program

 

Infectious Diseases

†††† The Infectious Diseases section is comprised of the following units:

 

  • Surveillance for emerging infections and more than 50 acute communicable diseases including conditions potentially associated with bioterrorism, outbreak detection, and investigation
  • Prevention of perinatal infectious diseases, vaccine-preventable diseases, sexually transmitted diseases and tuberculosis
  • Public health intervention response planning for bioterrorism and public health infectious disease emergencies
  • Epidemiology and Emerging Infections Program
  • Immunization Program
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases Program
  • Tuberculosis Diseases Program

 

Public Health Laboratory

††† The Public Health Laboratory supports the needs of all communities in the state by the analysis of human clinical specimens and environmental samples submitted by federal and state agencies, local health departments, the health care community, utilities and environmental engineering firms.Analytical data are used to monitor for agents harmful to the public, identify the cause of outbreaks, and assure that control measures (i.e. vaccines, antibiotics, insect spraying) are effective.The laboratory is comprised of the following testing units:

 

Biological Sciences Ė tests for infectious agents in humans, animals, food and water, provides reference testing in support of epidemiological investigations, serves as the stateís response laboratory for the identification of biothreat agents, tests all Connecticut newborns for the presence of 42 inherited disorders that cause severe mental and/or physical illnesses.

 

Environmental Chemistry Ė tests for over 100 toxic chemical agents in drinking water; in rivers, lakes and streams; in wastewater, landfills, spills, soils and air; in consumer products and other materials where there is human exposure.This unit also provides monitoring of the nuclear power industry and is part of the stateís nuclear response team.

 

Biomonitoring Ė tests for the presence of toxic chemicals in human clinical specimens.Serves as the stateís response laboratory in an event where the public is exposed to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or other toxic chemicals.Supports the Connecticut Poison Control Center and the department biomonitoring studies.Tests approximately 55,000 children each year for the presence of elevated lead from exposure to old paint, folk medicines or other environmental sources.

 

Regulatory Services Branch

††† The Regulatory Services Branch has regulatory oversight of the stateís drinking water systems, child day care facilities, youth camps and environmental services.Programs include licensure, investigation, and enforcement action against suppliers/providers that are in violation of the law or otherwise pose a risk to public health and safety.The branch also operates prevention programs focusing on health education.Technical assistance to licensed providers is a priority.

 

 

 

††† The branch consists of:

 

Community-Based Regulation Section

††† Licensing, technical assistance, and investigations of facilities, including:

  • Child Day Care centers
  • Group Day Care homes
  • Family Day Care homes
  • Youth camps

 

Environmental Health Section

  • Asbestos Program
  • Environmental Engineering Program (On-Site Subsurface Sewage Systems, Mausoleums, Crematories, Private Burial Grounds)
  • Environmental Laboratory Certification Program
  • Environmental and Occupational Health Assessment Program
  • Environmental Practitioner Licensure Unit
  • Food Protection Program
  • Lead Poisoning Prevention and Control Program
  • Private Wells Program
  • Radon Program

         Recreation Program

         Bathing areas

         Beaches

         Public pools

         Family campgrounds      

 

Drinking Water Section

††† The Drinking Water Section (DWS) maintains oversight of public water systemsí (PWS) ability to provide a safe and adequate drinking water supply to the public.Key programmatic oversight elements include water quality monitoring and reporting, approval of treatment and infrastructure upgrades, new source development, source water protection, security and emergency response, outreach and education and the performance of sanitary surveys.The section is comprised of four functional units, which include:

 

Operator Certification

  • Certification of water system operators
  • Enforcement against non-compliant systems
  • Disciplinary actions against certified operators
  • Operator training
  • Review of cross connection survey reports
  • Backflow personnel training

 

Compliance

  • Field investigations and sanitary surveys
  • Monitoring, reporting & enforcement
  • Data management
  • Capacity review & standards
  • Engineering technical reviews
  • Drinking water state revolving fund (DWSRF)

 

Programs

         Grant/contract development

         Public outreach and education

         Report development

         Security/emergency response/mutual aid

 

Source Water Protection & Planning

         Source water assessment and protections

         Site assessment and review

         Public drinking water source permitting

         Source water education and training

         Individual and regional long-term water supply planning

 

 

Research and Development

The Office of Research and Development (ORD) oversees the management of cross branch initiatives to drive strategic priorities of the Department of Public Health.†† Programs are conceptualized, resourced and implemented by bringing together internal and external subject matter experts under the direction of the ORD.Effectiveness is measured by the timeliness of program start-up, compliance with statutory mandates, and the sustainability of programs and initiatives within the agency.The current programmatic areas of focus and administrative responsibility include:

 

         Connecticut Stem Cell Research Program

         Connecticut Umbilical Cord Blood Banking Program

         Connecticut Biobank Feasibility Study

         Genomics and Public Health

         Legal and Ethical Aspects of Public Health Preparedness