Reconsider the health services
While I was happy to finally see an article in The News-Review regarding the transfer of public health services to the state, I was distressed to read that neither the county nor the state has a plan in place. In fact, I question the necessity of this transfer until further facts are known.
When the Resolution was passed on June 11, Commissioner Morgan stated the transfer would result in better health outcomes for Douglas County citizens. She referred to Senate Bill 1580, which created Community Care Organizations throughout the state. The CCO in Douglas County is the Umpqua Health Alliance. I disagree with Commissioner Morgan that the goals of the CCOs are consistent with the goals of Douglas County Public Health.
As stated on the website, the goal of the Umpqua Health Alliance is “to improve health care and make it more affordable for the population being served through the Oregon Health Plan.” The goals of Douglas County Public Health are much broader and affect all Douglas County citizens (control of preventable diseases, communicable disease investigations, tuberculosis case management, tobacco prevention and education, immunizations, and many more).
I was also surprised to see no mention of the State Task Force on the Future of Public Health Services, which has been meeting for the past several months to discuss the future of public health services in Oregon. One of the goals of this task force is to make recommendations to: “allow for appropriate partnerships with regional health care service providers and community organizations,” which seems to be one of Commissioner Morgan’s goals.
I have no idea why October 1 was chosen to complete this transfer, but it seems prudent for the commissioners to take a step back, review the recommendations of the task force and delay the transfer.