Should Lubbock keep its Health Department or can the city do without? Lubbock's Board of Health created a committee Wednesday to investigate.
Board Chairman Dr. Steven Presley says, "Essentially we formally tasked this committee to investigate and gather information on how those essential health services will continue to be provided to Lubbock's community."
Presley says the committee is created at the request of the City Council, which last month put a 90 moratorium on plans to close the Health Department. The City Manager says closing it will save the city about $900,000 over two years. She says immunizations can be contracted out to local clinics.
The proposal seemed to take Council Members by surprise.
The committee will not only look at immunizations but also STD testing, and disease surveillance.
"I'm sure the committee will have open meetings from time to time and invite citizen comments," Presley says. Presley also says the committee is diverse and represents the community at large.
However the committee is not necessarily tasked with finding ways to save the Health Department. And that has drawn criticism from Dr. Brian Carr, who has been an outspoken critic of plans to close the Health Department.
Carr writes in a Wednesday morning email, "Their charge has been seriously limited and, in my opinion, not adequately allowed to consider the issues at hand."
Carr is inviting supporters of his position to meet Thursday night and create a separate study group. The text of his full email is posted below.
This morning the Board of Health met and took action in forming a subcommittee that will report back to the Board about the proposed changes in the Health Dept.
I expect that this evening the media will report that this subcommittee is in charge of the review and report back to the City Council.
While the subcommittee will report back to the larger Board their charge has been seriously limited and, in my opinion, not adequately allowed to consider the issues at hand. An independent voice must be established that is free of the restrictions placed on the Board of Health by the city government.
Therefore, for those who have been asked to attend the meeting tomorrow night at the TTHSC it is even now more important that you attend.
DATE/DAY: Thursday, September 8th, 2011
TIME: 7:00 pm 9:00 pm
LOCATION: TTUHSC Academic Classroom Building, ROOM 240 (For those who have not been there the ACB faces 4th Street and is the 2 story attachment on the western side of the HSC. Come to the front door and someone will let you in since the doors lock at 6:30 PM.)
Several members of the Board of health will attend this meeting but it is not an official part of the B of H subcommittee. This study group will be the only independent voice for the citizens of Lubbock that will draw on the expertise of members of the medical, business, and larger community.
DO NOT BELIEVE that this study group will not have a purpose as it will be even more important than before. By fostering an independent voice we will provide a much greater review and evaluation of the public health needs of Lubbock.
Tomorrow evening we will meet to establish who will be involved in this study group and what our charge will be. Please make every effort to attend. Contact me if you have questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or on my cell at 787-0761.
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