February 26, 2009 in Letters

Health district doing its job

The Spokesman-Review
 

According to the S-R, the health district should be judged by (1) have we been able to recruit a full-time health officer (admittedly a problem) and (2) are we maintaining a “Don’t consider other data” approach to problem solving.

A much more important question is “Are we addressing public health?”

This past year, a monkey bit three people, a chicken pox outbreak occurred, and now we have a peanut butter scare. In each of these cases, the district became aware of the problem, they notified interim health officer Dr. Larry Jecha, he made the medical decision, the decision was carried out, and the board was notified of that decision. Public health was always the highest priority.

But what if the public health officer had closed the entire school district or had quarantined the entire county in their homes for the chicken pox outbreak as he/she has the police power to do? Should such an authority report to an unelected bureaucracy, or should they be accountable through your local representatives?

The board, health officer and administrator each have their own roles. They must coordinate, communicate and exercise team leadership to assure the best health of our community. We are doing precisely that.

Bill Gothmann

Member, Spokane Regional Health Board

Spokane Valley


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