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Rep. Brown announces $175 million in funding to reduce COVID-19 health disparities, improve testing services and education outcomes

January 31, 2022
Richard D. Brown News

COLUMBUS – Rep. Richard D. Brown (D-Canal Winchester) announced today that the state Controlling Board approved several major items this week, including $150 million to increase testing services and the availability of at-home rapid tests.

“This funding will greatly help our efforts to provide COVID-19 testing in Ohio and support our students, teachers, and schools as they continue to navigate this pandemic,” said Rep. Brown. “I’m also glad to see additional funding for the State Opioid Response Grant Program as we continue to tackle the state’s opioid epidemic.”

The State Opioid Response Program is a part of the state’s ongoing efforts to end the opioid epidemic. Representative Brown has sponsored House Bill 328, which would establish the Office of Drug Policy as a cabinet-level position in the Governor’s Office. House Bill 328 would help communities across Ohio provide resources to fight against the opioid epidemic and to aid Ohioans struggling with addiction.

The Controlling Board also approved $7.2 million in COVID-19 relief funds to address the educator shortage and students’ chronic absences as a result of the pandemic. Additionally, $17 million was approved to aid with pandemic response efforts and to reduce COVID-19 health disparities. Ohio has faced a surge in demand for COVID-19 relief support as hospitalizations around the state continue to rise.

Additional approved items include:

·         $1 million to assist the Minority Health Commission in the usage of the State Opioid Response Program;

·         $2.8 million to help cover non-federal costs in approved projects under FEMA Public assistance programs;

·         $3.8 million to operate the Medicaid Customer Service Hotline and Enrollment Program;

·         $120,000 to conduct a precautionary forensic and security assessment of the unemployment system;

·         $350,000 to expand outreach of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services’ Crisis Text Line.