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  1. Carman, Angela L. DrPH
  2. Gatton, Kelsey BHS
  3. Hogg-Graham, Rachel DrPH


Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine patterns of cross-jurisdictional sharing across the 61 local public health jurisdictions (LHJs) in Kentucky. The opportunities to reduce the cost-of-service delivery for Kentucky's LHJs via cross-jurisdictional sharing present a mechanism to address financial instability across the state by achieving economies of scale, especially among smaller jurisdictions.


Design: A cross-sectional study design was used to examine patterns of cross-jurisdictional sharing across the 61 LHJs in Kentucky. The survey tool utilized was designed by the Center for Sharing Public Health Services, an initiative managed by the Kansas Health Institute with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


Results: Seventy-two percent of the 61 LHJs in Kentucky responded to the survey. The majority of responding jurisdictions sharing services were rural, single-county jurisdictions, utilizing service-related informal sharing arrangements. The majority of health departments, when asked to identify which programmatic areas shared service arrangements were focused in, listed those services requiring intensive staff training such as Health Access Nurturing Development Services (HANDS) and epidemiology. Of particular interest were the services most infrequently shared such as communicable disease screening and treatment.


Conclusions: This study suggests that, pre-COVID-19, a core group of primarily rural, single-county Kentucky local health departments has experience with cross-jurisdictional sharing. Among this group, engagement in informal arrangements was the form of cross-jurisdictional sharing predominantly used, with few jurisdictions reporting shared functions with joint oversight. When considering the potential benefits and efficiencies that cross-jurisdictional sharing can provide to public health departments and their communities, for some, COVID-19 may have been a catalyst to engage in sharing across health department jurisdictional lines.