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The Department of Public Health shall have the power and its duty shall be to perform the following functions:
(a) Protection of Public Health. It shall administer and enforce statutes, ordinances and regulations relating to public health including those dealing with air, water, food and drugs, health hazards, the pursuit of occupations affecting the public health, and pests, including animal, insect and plant-life.
(b) Health Programs. The Department shall institute and conduct programs of public health and medical research and programs to promote public education in all matters concerning public health.
(c) Health Facilities. The Department shall establish, maintain and operate health centers, stations and clinics, laboratories and other health facilities.
(d) Vital Statistics. The Department shall be the agency of the City for compiling, analyzing, maintaining, and reporting statistics and data concerning births, still-births and deaths.
(e) City Hospitals. The Department shall have general supervision over all City hospitals now or hereafter owned or operated by the City. It shall determine the capacity of City hospitals and determine and designate the type of persons and the proportion of each to be received therein. The Department shall recommend and bring to the attention of the officers and boards of trustees of City hospitals standards and methods helpful in the government and administration of such hospitals and for the betterment of the condition of their patients.
(f) Health Care Plan. Because health care is an essential safeguard of human life and dignity, the Department of Public Health shall be directed to prepare a plan on or before one year from the date the voters approve addition of this section to the Charter for universal health care coverage that permits everyone in the City of Philadelphia to obtain decent health care on a regular basis. 131
Sources: Act of June 25, 1919, P.L. 581, Article VII, Section 3; the Administrative Code of 1929, P.L. 177, Section 2315.
Purposes: 1. The importance of the public health of the people of the City requires a separate Department of Public Health, empowered to deal with all public health problems. However, the licensing of occupations and activities subject to regulation by the City pursuant to statute or ordinance is made a function of the Department of Licenses and Inspections even though they are regulated for public health reasons. See Article V, Chapter 10. For the present, inspection functions in the public health area remain with the Department of Public Health except that if they involve also building safety or sanitation, they come within the jurisdiction of the Department of Licenses and Inspection. See Article V, Chapter 10.
2. The Charter vests the management of City hospitals in boards of trustees. Section 5-303. Such boards, however, are attached to the Department of Public Health which is responsible for the general supervision of City hospitals. This does not include the management of day to day operations and the determination of the immediate hospital policy for such matters are within the province of the boards of trustees. But to the extent an overall City policy is required to be established and followed, its formulation is a matter for the Department of Public Health. Participation by boards of trustees in determining such policy is not precluded, for sound general supervision will take advantage of consultation with and the advice of those in day to day control of hospitals. Part of a City-wide hospital policy is the determination of how many patients a hospital shall accommodate and the kinds and number of each case it shall treat. Therefore, these are made matters for decision at the departmental level.