Estimating the Cost of Providing Foundational Public Health Services

Cezar Brian C. Mamaril, Glen P. Mays, Douglas Keith Branham, Betty Bekemeier, Justin Marlowe, Lava Timsina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To estimate the cost of resources required to implement a set of Foundational Public Health Services (FPHS) as recommended by the Institute of Medicine. Study Design: A stochastic simulation model was used to generate probability distributions of input and output costs across 11 FPHS domains. We used an implementation attainment scale to estimate costs of fully implementing FPHS. Data Collection/Extraction Methods: We use data collected from a diverse cohort of 19 public health agencies located in three states that implemented the FPHS cost estimation methodology in their agencies during 2014–2015. Principal Findings: The average agency incurred costs of $48 per capita implementing FPHS at their current attainment levels with a coefficient of variation (CV) of 16 percent. Achieving full FPHS implementation would require $82 per capita (CV=19 percent), indicating an estimated resource gap of $34 per capita. Conclusions: Substantial variation in costs exists across communities in resources currently devoted to implementing FPHS, with even larger variation in resources needed for full attainment. Reducing geographic inequities in FPHS may require novel financing mechanisms and delivery models that allow health agencies to have robust roles within the health system and realize a minimum package of public health services for the nation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2803-2820
Number of pages18
JournalHealth Services Research
StatePublished - Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Health care financing/insurance/premiums
  • geographic/spatial factors/small area variations
  • health promotion/prevention/screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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