Report: Missouri near bottom in public health funding

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A recent study ranks Missouri near the bottom nationally in state spending on public health initiatives.

The report says Missouri's public health budget spent $9.26 per person in the 2008-2009 fiscal year. That ranked 49th nationally among states, ahead of only Nevada.

The report was produced by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Missouri health director Margaret Donnelly says the low ranking may be misleading. She says many county health offices in Missouri receive local funding in addition to their state money. Donnelly says some states have a more centralized structure to their health agencies, so they may get less money locally.