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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, November 21, 2008

Is the Bi-County Health Department Going Anywhere?

Last night, Northampton County Council considered the membership of its newly established bi-county health department. Council members Lamont McClure and Ron Angle, concerned we'll never be able to fund an admittedly worthy idea, asked that the health board not meet until definite costs of operation are ascertained. But according to Council member Neiper, the only way that can be answered is by having the board get together and meet. Angle and McClure's rare bipartisan motion was rejected by the other six council members.

The chief problem here is that Allentown and Bethlehem both already have their own active health departments, which will merge in this bi-county venture. Neither city will tolerate a dilution of the services they currently offer their residents. But people in Lynn or Upper Mount Bethel Township will be upset if their county taxes pay for a health department that offers city residents services it is unable to offer them.

Angle asks some good questions. "Why create a health department when we can't afford the level of government we have now?" "Why lead people on such a trip if you don't have the ability to buy a car?"


Anonymous said...

This has always been a scam. While I find Angle to be a fraud, I must agree with him on this issue. He has consistenly asked the right question and has never received a true answer.

The cost of this is not totally reimburseable and how will the County pay for what will be a huge 'growing' new bureaucracy.

That Casino money, which is less since Stoffa gave half away has been spent five times over.

Anonymous said...

There's no scam here. We're leaving millions of dollars on the table every year that could be used to help keep our overall population healthy. Our hospitals do a good job of helping us when we get sick, but what are we doing about the growing incidence of heart disease, diabetes, teen car crashes, asthma and all the other things that are making us sick?

The local investment is minimal when you really analyze the numbers, the return on the investent is huge and local government has complete control over its growth (actually in this case TWO local governments- the Counties of Lehigh and Northampton- have complete control over its growth).

Why are we so afraid to invest in our health and wellness??????

Anonymous said...

"The local investment is minimal "

really? define minimal, particularly in light of the fact that the county currently can't afford to perform its core functions.

Anonymous said...

The overall health and wellness of its citizens is a county's core function!

I define minimal as $500,000 per year. With that investment, some relatively small county functions can be done by the health department, reducing expenditures that the county incurs. The Health Dept can also pay the county for some human resource and other "support" services, adding revenues to the County. When you put that up against the $500,000 per year the county would be responsible for, it ends up being about a buck a person per year.

Now let's take a look at the savings to our businesses. Improved health means less absenteeism, more productivity, less health benefits usage, etc. I'm not saying that public health is the solution to our health care crisis, but it is one (of many) important componenent to controlling costs and improving health.

Let's have some good, bi-partisan dialogue about this issue. (I'm not sure that this can be done in a County Council setting) It's important to ALL OF US

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Anyone who believes our governments (especially the unholy, dysfunctional mess that runs NC) will efficiently spend the money and effectively deliver the results hasn't been paying attention.

Anonymous said...

That's one of the benefits of a bi-county health department. County Council will be able to control the growth, but public health experts through a governing health board will be working with communities to determine the types of services that are needed and are effective.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
There's no scam here. We're leaving millions of dollars on the table every year that could be used to help keep our overall population healthy. Our hospitals do a good job of helping us when we get sick, but what are we doing about the growing incidence of heart disease, diabetes, teen car crashes, asthma and all the other things that are making us sick?

Heart disease: Eat better and exercise. This is taught in our public schools, in which we INVEST heavily.

Teen Car crashes: Teach your children how to drive responsibly. Insurance companies and public schools also address this issue, and both receive plenty of INVESTMENT.

Diabetes: See Heart Disease.

Asthma: See Diabetes, Heart Disease.

All other things that are making us sick: See Personal Responsibility.

See, all done and I do not even require a fee. Glad to help my fellow man. Even you, you big government, I can't fend for myself crybaby!

Bernie O'Hare said...

I appreciate the arguments here, which are well-stated. It may very well prove to be too costly or may prove to be wotrth the price, But Neiper's point was that we won't really know the cost until ther health board convenes and comes up with a plan. Stoffa has thus far refused to pledge anything beyond what we realize in casino revenue.

Assuming this can be done, is it worth it? Allentown aND Bethlehem will not allow the quality of services they offer to their residents to diminish. So whatever services are offered beyond those two cities will be very minimal, at least for the first few years. I'm not sure that makes sense, but agree we should give the board a chance to put something together.

Anonymous said...

I would love to see the law that allows a regional health deprtment to give less service outside the cities. The tax money going into it will be from all over the County.

The BS about $500K from the County a year is 'ALL', is absolute clap trap. Those that have voiced concerns over this fraud have been pushed out of the discussion.

Once implemented there will be no control over the size and growth of this new entity. If Council ever tries to pull it in, you will hear the sappy arguments already stated on this thread, Editorials will wail and people will be setup to tell gut wrenching stories of how their kids would die if any new plans aren't approved.

In a terrible economy we are going to create a new government $$$ monster. If this is such a winner why do so few Counties implement it. They understand that the so called 'millions left on the table' come at a cost and obligation that will shock County taxpayers five years from now.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:16....

Wow, you know what CAUSES diabetes???? Have you told the medical community yet? And I guess all that research that indicates heart disease might be due more to inflammation than lipid numbers is just so much smoke up the butt.

Correlation is NOT causation. Repeat that first everytime you decide you have solved the mystery of these killers.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I didn't know we had so many anonymous Doctors in the Comment gallery! What medical Schools did you attend? Northampton County's Angle School of Medicine?!

Anonymous said...

Stop the maddness now! If the levels of service are not uniform to all taxpayers putting and equal share into the system, then it might as well not happen. Or, the Township's and Boroughs ought to do their own thing. I am sick and tired of this social liberal mentality of me having to pay for the City just because I live in rural Northampton County.

Anonymous said...

This is a feel good gesture backed by the Business leaders as in the Lehigh Valley Partnership.

It has no real value to the average citizen.