I have the pleasure and honor of serving as the Co-Chair of the levy campaign being run by the Friends of the Logan County Health District. I am writing in support of the Logan County Health District and asking my fellow Logan County residents to vote for a 0.8 mil, 5-year levy on November 3rd to help support the work of the Health District.
I was raised in Logan County and, except for a period of time while away for college, law school and the start of my professional career, I have lived in Logan County for the majority of my life. As such, I have witnessed and benefited from the programs and activities of the Health District, and from the fine work of the District’s hard working employees. On a daily basis, the Health District and its employees touch the lives of individual Logan County residents through the Health District’s many activities.
The day-to-day activities of the District are absolutely vital to a healthy community, but I want to focus attention to the Health District’s role in population health management activities that strengthen and protect our community on a large scale, community-wide basis. In my role as Vice President of Operations at Mary Rutan Hospital, I am able to see these community health management projects because the hospital and the Health District work collaboratively on many of them. The Health District and the hospital are able to devote resources to identify and plan for the healthcare needs and threats that do, or potentially could, impact large numbers within our community.
In 2012, Mary Rutan Hospital and the Health District, along with other area organizations, collaborated on the study and development of a Community Health Needs Assessment. The Assessment was updated earlier this year. The Needs Assessment is a comprehensive look at the health issues impacting the Logan County community and the resources available or needed to address said issues. The Assessment is a valuable community document that assists many local organizations to strategically plan for the health care needs of our local population.
The Health District has also worked with Mary Rutan Hospital to develop two important health initiatives. The first is a concussion program that established identification and treatment protocol for individuals suffering head injuries. This program is of particular use for our local youth who participate in sports. The second program is the Solid Ground Balance Program. This program is aimed at our elderly population and others who are at risk for a fall. The aim is to prevent falls before they happen and to allow these individuals to be more physically active.
The Health District and the hospital work closely together to monitor infectious diseases that are present in our community and to plan for infectious diseases that could pose a risk of presenting in our community. This planning was highlighted in the past year as the nation assessed the threat of Ebola on our soil. In the same way, the Health District is a constant partner for area organizations taking part in countywide disaster drills, regardless of the nature of the hypothetical disaster.
These are but a few of the “big picture” activities undertaken by the Health District. As with many of the day-to-day services, such as restaurant inspections and licensing, sewage permits and inspections, well permits and nuisance investigations, etc., these services benefit each and every resident of Logan County. Every man, woman and child in Logan County is safer due to the work of the Health District.
Finally, I would like to address the fiscal responsibility undertaken by the District over the years since its prior levy funding ended in 2008. The District has decreased from 39 to 28 employees, including a cut from 8 public health nurses to 3. The District went a period of 4 years during this time with no employee wage increases. A $25,000 budget, previously established to assist in tearing down dangerous properties in the community, has been eliminated. These are but a few of the measures taken by the District to provide quality services with ever decreasing financial resources.
As you can see, the District has responded to the results of prior levy votes by making fiscal cuts and streamlining its operations. At this point, I believe that the “case” has been made for us to renew levy support to the District, or else risk the loss of vital public health services to our friends, neighbors and loved ones. For this reason, I ask for you to join me in support of the Health District and to vote for the Health District Levy on November 3rd.