$1.4 million earmarked to prevent smoking
Washington County Health Partners will receive more than $1.4 million over the next three years to implement a state tobacco use prevention and cessation program.
WCHP has been contracted by the state's Department of Health to oversee the program locally. Pennsylvania's share of the 1998 settlement with the tobacco industry is paying for the program.
Over a 25-year period, the state will receive about $11 billion, all of which has been designated for health-related initiatives.
The Department of Health has set aside $41.4 million for the tobacco use prevention and cessation program, representing 12 percent of the state's annual settlement allocation.
In each of the state's 67 counties, independent contractors will oversee the local programs. Contract awards were determined by the size of the county's population.
Lee Rutledge-Salcione, executive director of WHCP, said her organization was one of two to apply for the contract. WHCP was awarded the contract in May.
As part of the contract, the nonprofit organization will be responsible for implementing school and community programs, as well as enforcement of the state law that makes it illegal for tobacco retailers to sale to people under the age of 18.
"We're currently in the process of contracting with 10 to 12 other entities throughout the county," she said. "We're in the process of putting the plan into place."
WHCP was formed in 1997 to address health issues effecting county residents. It originally operated under the auspices of Washington Hospital.
In September 2000, WHCP became an independent organization with a 30-member board of directors.