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Belpre weighs in on possible health department mergers

February 9, 2013

BELPRE — The Belpre Board of Health is willing to listen to proposals about joining with the Marietta and Washington County health departments, but members are in no hurry to consolidate....

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Feb-13-13 3:12 PM

Consolidation would actually result in smaller government, with more front line workers actually SERVING the public. Big Government = 3 Administrators, 3 health commissioners, 3 nursing directors, 3 environmental health directors ALL serving ONE county. Can you please explain to me how consolidating all the top paying administrative positions makes government bigger? We could hire at least 2 front line workers out in the rural communities for each of the top heavy administrative positions we could consolidate. Get some facts before you spew founding father nonsense. Our citizens deserve to get maximum services, they don't need multiple upper level bureaucracy, they need direct services. Ignorance and a lack of critical thinking are two of the greatest enemies of our time. The same willful ignorance that got us into two unfounded and unpaid for wars keeps rearing its ugly head amongst Republicans, keep it up boys, your families must be proud!

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Feb-13-13 3:06 PM

Please remind us all who was leading the country during the era's where America experienced a surplus? 1980: Ronald Reagan runs for president, promising a balanced budget

1981 – 1989: With support from congressional Republicans, Reagan runs enormous deficits, adds $2 trillion to the debt.

1993: Bill Clinton passes economic plan that lowers deficit, gets zero votes from congressional Republicans.

1998: U.S. deficit disappears for the first time in three decades. Debt clock is unplugged.

2000: George W. Bush runs for president, promising to maintain a balanced budget. 2001: CBO shows the United States is on track to pay off the entirety of its national debt within a decade.

2001 – 2009: With support from congressional Republicans, Bush runs enormous deficits, adds nearly $5 trillion to the debt. 2002: Dick Cheney declares, “Deficits don’t matter.” Congressional Republicans agree, approving tax cuts, two wars, and Medicare expansion without even trying to pay for them.

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Feb-11-13 10:02 PM

@ Tess:

You are a big government left leaning progressive democrat.

I am a very limited right leaning founding fathers believer. I would never get caught voting for a recent democrat, but I sure would have thrown a vote for JFK.

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Feb-11-13 9:57 PM

@IC-I don't spew! Let's look at your post, "leaving the area" Kraton: Not hiring DuPont: Contract labor force-DuPonters all retired PubDebt: All transplanted here Middleton Doll: Gone Degussa: Changes names every year-No hires AMPO: Lefties/Obama killed it Chevron: Retired, moved to China Aerolite: Status Quo at best Hospitals: SJ-Closed, CCMH-?, MMH-entry level & mostly new transplants Hino: Laying off

Now tell me why in the HADES am I off my rocker with my substantiated argument? Lastly, tell me why you are a simple D#$% A@# with your flawed argument?

Lastly, her points are not valid or logical! Regional = bigger more ineffective government! Contracting works very well for Belpre, & we happen to like it very much. Leave us alone!

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Feb-11-13 4:14 PM

For anyone wondering why young, educated people choose to leave this valley to live elsewhere...please read DA's comments.

Ms. Singer's points were valid and logical. DA was spewing traditional ignorant rhetoric that has kept our region in the shadows for generations.

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Feb-11-13 11:25 AM

Devils Advocate, I can finally see in print why you and I butt heads so often. Like Ms.Singer, I'm not a native, and I've lived in more progressive thinking areas.

You said, "My folks & I were here long before you & your kind".

That kind of thinking is a problem in this area. As an outsider looking in like Ms. Singer, I can see where some in local "power" develop tunnel vision. The old "we've always done it that way" kind of thinking. Well guess what? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result maintains chaos. That means change and you better get used to it. The good old boy system is about to change on a large scale because of natural die-off.

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Feb-10-13 7:53 PM

Where to start? Just start now, from any perspective that pleases the good faith participants. For instance, consider the stated mission (from websites): “The mission of the Washington County Health Department is to assure a healthful environment, prevent disease, and prolong life and well being for the citizens of Washington County.” “Marietta City Board of Health is a public agency supported by taxes and fees. The health department has its basis in Ohio law and serves the City of Marietta. The mission of the Health Department is to develop and maintain an efficient and effective system that will provide for the highest quality of public health services practicable, and to promote and protect the community's physical, mental, social and environmental well being.”

Don’t these missions seem a little too broad, inviting expansion of taxpayer costs beyond what cannot be accomplished effectively by any entity except government?

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Feb-10-13 7:51 PM

We may not agree with everything Ms. Singer wrote; but don’t we just wish we had the courage to sign our names here, as she did hers? If we aren’t willing to step out in the open as she has, don’t we at least owe her the respect of civil discourse -- devoid of insults about her home, her background, her degree, her (courageous, again) run for city office?

Officials at the county level have started this ball rolling by acting to restrain the budget and reappointments. Good. They have invited a creative discussion among the pros. It would be great if all three health entities would mount a good faith search for ways to cooperate and save the taxpayer a few dollars. If they find savings, that won’t mean they have been doing a bad job up ‘till now. It will just mean they stepped up to this most recent challenge.

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Feb-10-13 9:28 AM

Lastly & please don't be offended... But why in the world am I supposed to trust you & your judgement. Your quote studies from all over, but you aren't from here. We are small time, & want to stay small. You arrived in the MOV w/ a law background, but tried politics, & settled for a health job. If this happens, what promise do we have in Belpre that you won't leave. Another state down, big gov't promises & system that works fine for us is now defunct with its main backer doing who knows what. My folks & I were here long before you & your kind, & I suspect we will be here long afterwards. We're skeptical in small SE Ohio when snake oil saleman show up & push something we don't want or need. Sorry....

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Feb-10-13 9:16 AM

We are very happy with the services we buy from Athens & Marietta. Why can't you "regional" believers, & "big" gov't followers understand that the we buy a service from Marietta. They deliver it to us w/o fail. We get what we buy. We also do that with Athens, & they too deliver what we buy. We have no problems with either of them. That is not a problem, that is how it is supposed to work. Buy, then receive! If we regionalize, I believe you get all the money to fatten your paycheck, we fall in line with the entire county. We have inked paper contracts for service. We won't have that promise if we regionalize. We will only be told it isn't our day for the county folks to be in our neck of the woods.

I can sort of appreciate Ms. Singer's efforts to twist studies from all over to fit her agenda. It's her next paycheck & promotion. Take it back to wherever you used to call home. It isn't for us. Why fix it, it isn't broke. Smaller gov't, not larger gov'

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Feb-09-13 11:53 PM

As additional evidence that Churchill ranked health below certain freedoms --

Nancy Astor to Churchill: “Sir, if you were my husband, I would give you poison.” Churchill to Astor: “If I were your husband, I would take it.”

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Feb-09-13 11:51 PM

Ms Singer correctly quoted Churchill, “Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have”. But do we think the great statesman would have actually chosen healthy citizens over freedom-defending citizens, or self-reliant citizens, or truth-seeking citizens? Do you think he could have ever imagined how far his country and ours would slide toward making the government responsible for the health of each citizen? Churchill also said, “There is no such thing as a good tax.” Let’s commend Ms. Singer and others who are urging the three health departments to creatively cooperate -- to take a new look at how they deliver appropriate services. But let’s also urge them to reduce the burden on local taxpayers. These departments are funded by the taxpayer. Their boards and officials owe the taxpayer their best efforts to keep costs down and deliver good quality. This will take time to achieve, so let’s not waste time foot-dragging and fighting old battles.

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Feb-09-13 1:32 PM

Google 10 essential services for public health and then ask the 3 different health departments serving one single county whether they are familiar with them and how they are meeting them. I would love to expand the dialogue on how we, as a region, plan to meet those standards and serve the citizens in our area in the most effective, efficient and economic way possible. I demanded nothing, I only asked that entities that SERVE the public if they would engage in forward-thinking dialogue to determine if it could be improved through the restructuring that ALL the experts are showing is the direction Public Health is moving. Keeping the doors open and providing minimum services is not enough and requesting a full dialogue to begin addressing what is coming should not be something that merits such rhetoric, grandstanding and turf wars. Our population is getting sicker and sicker, the sooner we start looking forward and joining forces instead of competing, the sooner we can bend that curve.

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Feb-09-13 1:13 PM

If anyone is interested in what a regional health department can accomplish and how much broader the scope of services and outcomes could be, I would be happy to set up a meeting at our main office in Parkersburg. Change is hard, but this is important. As Winston Churchill noted- "Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have."

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Feb-09-13 1:04 PM

See that's the problem- people that have absolutely no idea of what is possible; what standards other regions and states hold themselves to and disparage anyone who challenges the status quo. I have spent the last year researching National Public Health Standards from multiple sources and guidance from federal entities - the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), the National Association of Local Boards of Health (NALBOH), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) the American Public Health Association (APHA) and they all confirm that cross-jurisdictional sharing with an emphasis on regionalization is the future of public health. It is more efficient, more effective and results in better health outcomes- as well as makes regional health departments more competitive for funding to begin addressing the disparate health outcomes. Where did you do your research? I also have the broad perspective of having lived in 5 states and having travelled globally- I know what is possible.

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Feb-09-13 12:54 PM


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Feb-09-13 11:30 AM

Way to go Belpre! A truly smalll community in the county that gets crap from the county. You "contract" with neighboring municipals for guaranteed services. That is a principal others need to adopt. The other community beg the county, & sometimes the county shows up, sometimes they don't for needed services. Folks, if you buy it, it is yours. Again, WTG Belpre!!!

Now, why is a Marietta resident working in Parkersburg who has only been in the valley for a mere few years demanding a plan that has been reviewed over the ages to be instituted? Wrong answer lady! Listen to folks that have been dealing with this over the years.... Our gov't doesn't care about SE OH. Columbus doesn't care about SE OH. And I bet if given the ability, the county would begin ignoring deeper/smaller SE OH towns/villages

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