Foundational Public Health Services

A responsive and viable governmental public health system is essential for healthy and economically vital communities across Washington.

Protecting the public's health across the state is a fundamental responsibility of the state and is accomplished through the governmental public health system. This system is comprised of the state department of health, state board of health, local health jurisdictions, sovereign tribal nations, and Indian health programs. Foundational Public Health Services (FPHS) are core services which the governmental public health system is responsible for providing in a consistent and uniform way in every community in Washington. (RCW 43.70.512)

FPHS are a defined limited statewide set of core public health services. These services are unique provided only or primarily by government everywhere; are population-based rather than for the individuals and are services that must be everywhere for them to work anywhere. In many cases they're mandated in federal or state law – though remain largely unfunded. They are services that communities, businesses and individuals depend on. FPHS definitions are available here.

Like public safety (fire, police), public utilities (power, water), and other public infrastructure (roads, sewers), there is a foundational level of public health services that must exist everywhere for services to work anywhere.

The governmental public health system, with the governor and legislature, are using a long-term, multi-biennium, phased, building block approach to fully fund and implement foundational public health services across Washington.

More information (PDF).

Questions? Contact us at marie.flake@doh.wa.gov.