By Helen C. Estes

The Riley County Health Department Public Health Advisory Council (PHAC)met as scheduled. Each board member was introduced and briefly described his/her role in the community. The actual role of the PHAC was then discussed and reinforced this role as one of advisement to the Board of Health which is comprised of the three Riley County Commissioners. Commissioner Boyd represented the Board of Health and requested the PHAC advise them as to the needs of the community and to provide suggestions for actions/directions to be taken with regards to public health issues.

There was also discussion of an on-going topic, binge-drinking & excessive alcohol intake in this community. This public health focus has been the subject of many of the past PHAC meetings during which much data has been presented by various members/agencies from this area. Most members expressed opinions that the data gathered should be assembled and presented to the community in order to make use of the information & promote more thoughtful & safer consumption of alcohol. An actual position statement will be developed at the March meeting.

Another potential issue of public health concern was identified as the local acute care medical/surgical facility will soon be operated as a Catholic facility. The concerns expressed relate to Women’s Reproductive Health as there will be limitations of services for tubal ligations as well as lack of patient education regarding contraception. The public announcement regarding these changes in services will be made by corporate officials on 24April2015.

The PHAC looks forward to receiving the results from the Riley County Community Health Improvement meetings that have been conducted by the RCHD staff over the past several weeks. It is from this data that short-and long-term health care goals will be established.

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