Opinion

Public health meets ever-changing needs

Editor:

The Henry County Board of Supervisors would do well to study Iowa Code, Title IV, Public Health,” Section 137.104 “Local Boards of Health, Powers and Duties.”

The supervisors recently peppered Public Health Director Shelley Van Dorin about the Public Health budget and funding for services that might not be “mandated.” (“Henry health staff defends its budget,” SE Iowa Union, Jan. 22, 2021).

Iowa Code tells us: “A local board of health may provide such population-based and personal health services as may be deemed necessary for the promotion and protection of the health of the public.” While there are code provisions for certain services, there are no lists of mandates.

The grant of authority to local boards is broad for good reason. Health care needs vary greatly and change often. The current pandemic is proof of that.

Iowa Code wants doctors, nurses and other health care professionals to assess and meet the ever-changing needs in a county. This they do.

Given the pain brought on by the pandemic and poverty and the tireless work of public health staff the question of the supervisors should be “Where else can we help?” not “Where can we cut?”

David Helman

Salem