Public Health in Kansas

Kansas has what is known as a decentralized public health system. This means that most of the State’s 105 local health departments are units of local governments.

The Kansas Legislature, by authorizing local boards of health and local health officers, has delegated a significant amount of authority and responsibility to local public health officials. The state health agency, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), offers guidance and technical assistance to local jurisdictions, but KDHE does not have authority over the staffing, programs, or decisions of the local health departments.

 

Currently, there are 100 local health departments in Kansas, each governed by a local board of health which is often the board of county commissioners. There are some variations from this typical model:

  • There are two multi-county local health departments;
  • Four local health departments are hospital-led;
  • Four are managed by the county emergency medical services (EMS) agency;
  • One local health department is led by a federally qualified health center; and
  • There are two city-county local health departments.

The bulk of funding for Kansas local health departments comes from local sources, while dollars are also available from fees for services, the State of Kansas (State General Fund appropriations and categorical funds), Federal sources (direct or state pass-through funding) and other sources.

Kansas Local Health Department Map

Click on a county to discover its local health department’s contact, services, and priorities.