To The Daily Sun,
In 2013, the Winnipesaukee Public Health Council was developed to advocate for improved health outcomes and better coordination of services among public health partners. The council is comprised of community leaders representing multiple stakeholders from the towns within Belknap County, Franklin, Hill, Danbury and Northfield.
Representatives include leaders from municipal government, health care, social services, first responders, faith, planning, business, education, public health, elder services and citizens.
The council has identified priorities health issues in the region (based upon local health assessments). These priorities include:
— Access to health care.
— Assistance in navigating through the health-care system.
— Substance misuse.
Much progress has been made to ensure that all citizens have access to affordable health care. The New Hampshire Health Protection Program has provided health care access to people, many who have never had insurance before. Health literacy is provided through primary care practices and other programs to improve individual and community health outcomes. Community Health Centers (FQHC), provide the critical safety net with state support for those with very low income and social determinants of health compounding their personal health-care needs.
These improved outcomes will benefit individuals, families and assist in the economic vitality of our community. Please support the continuation of the New Hampshire Health Protection Program (NHHPP), and the funding of community health centers.
Navigating the health care and social service system can be a daunting task. Helping individuals and families identify their needs and assist them in connecting with services and supports are vital services for our citizens.
This is especially true in individuals/families seeking long-term care services. In a region that is getting older, these services are a lifeline, part of the safety net preventing more costly institutional care. Please support the continuation of the statewide network of ServiceLink Resource Centers.
Our family, friends and neighbors are reeling from the growing trend of substance misuse. Prevention treatment and recovery services are scant and are unable to service the growing demands for care. The impact to individuals, families, communities, and to our local economy is extensive. It is critical that we provide the services and supports needed to change the course of the lives of our citizens with addictive disorders. Please support the continuation of the New Hampshire Health Protection Program and support a substance use disorder benefit to those individuals on regular Medicaid for FY2017.
The collective result of the massive changes to the safety net would result in down-shifting to the local town services fire, police, welfare, which are already struggling with their own budgets. Not only will this be a burden to the county, it will not be a solution for the people affected. We know that in the past, down-shifting has resulted in no-shifting and the needs of the community members will not adequately be served.
As you know, the N.H. General Court Committee of Conference is currently addressing the FY2016-17 budget which will hopefully begin on July 1. We know how important these programs are to our community and hope that you will support them.
Thank you for your service to our community and for your attention to these important matters.
Members of the Winnipesaukee Public Health Council
Marge Kerns, Geoff Ruggles, Linda Ferruolo, Jim Wells, Ed Drury, Susan Smith, Melissa Lee, Richard Silverberg, David Emberley, Jane White, Jacqui Abikoff, David Emond, Susan Wnuk, Tim Kerns, Karen Grzelak, Kirk Beattie, Mckenzie Harrington-Bacote, Alida Millham, Shanna Saunders, Rich Crocker, Sally Minkow, Justin Slattery, Barbara Normandin, Dr. Jean Petterson, Jeff Hayes, Astha Joshi, Deacon Russ Morey, Margaret Labrecque, Robert Lucas
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