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June 25, 2013

County officials review health-care priorities

Public-health officials meet to categorize Clinton County needs

PLATTSBURGH — Substance abuse and public access to recreational activities ranked highest in priority during a planning session aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles in Clinton County. 

Health-care providers and other community leaders met to look at where the county stands with its health-care needs and what the focus should be over the next several years.

“We have a large group of people here representing the diversity of our community,” said Jerie Reid, director of public health for the Clinton County Health Department as she opened the Strategic Community Planning Session at West Side Ballroom in Plattsburgh.

“This is what makes our organization and our community so great.”

REGIONAL EFFORT

Participants represented the needs of such community members as the elderly and the youth of Clinton County, she noted. There were also representatives from education, community recreation, home-health care, mental health and CVPH Medical Center, as well as elected officials.

The session was a continuation of a lengthy regional process in which community members and health-care representatives have joined forces to create strategies for improving health-care services.

The county has utilized Mobilizing for Action through Planning & Partnership (MAPP) since 2004 and is entering a new phase with current efforts to prioritize health-care needs.

‘LEARNED A LOT’

Rather than focusing on information provided by the Health Department and regional health-care facilities, Reid noted that this year’s efforts will feature input from other areas being represented at the conference.

“We’ve learned a lot (over the years),” she said. “Experience is a wonderful teacher. With a staff of 75, 80 individuals, we’ve talked about all kinds of things we have to do. But how on earth do we do that by ourselves?”

Laurie Williams, health-education coordinator for the Clinton County Health Department, provided a brief history of work done over the past decade to develop a community-wide health-care plan, including the 2005 Tri-County Regional Health Perspective, an expanded version of the original MAPP efforts, which included providers in Essex and Franklin counties.

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