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Merging Health Departments

In: Other Topics

Submitted By Vokals314
Words 769
Pages 4
To the Editor:
Currently, the county board of supervisors is taking under consideration a proposal merging the local county health department with the health departments of three adjacent counties, so that the merged departments will constitute one large department, which address the public health needs of the region, rather than focus on individual counties. The rationale for this move is the belief that a regional public health department could be able to consolidate resources and facilitate coordination of emergency services. It is anticipated that the merger would enhance emergency preparedness and response activities within the region. While I agree with this premise, it is also apparent to me that there is the potential for some public health activities to suffer from the consolidation of services. Therefore, I feel it is imperative that the merger should be carefully scrutinized in regard to this point. A study conducted in Florida in regards to emergency services found that half of the respondents had access to a resource manual (Becker, et al., 2015). Furthermore, in an emergency that involved a chemical disaster, both rural and non-rural counties were equally likely not to have a written plan that could be implemented (Becker, et al, 2015). This finding points to the need to ensure that all respondents have the resources, such as necessary information, that is required to respond in an appropriate manner to whatever emergencies arise.
The research conducted by Beitsch and colleagues (2015) indicates that the public health responsiveness is challenged by the inadequate capacity of individual public health agencies. These sources indicate the benefits that can be derived by combining health departments and the services that they provide; however, research also indicates that there is a nationwide trend in regards to public health practice that has...

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