New organization launched to advance community health

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An organization already very familiar with the health-care concerns of South Snohomish County will be providing new community health services, according to a news release sent by Stevens Hospital Tuesday.  The newly formed organization, South Snohomish County Commission for Health, better known as Commission for Health (CFH), is managed by the Board of Commissioners for Public Hospital District #2 of Snohomish County and was responsible for overseeing Stevens Hospital.

Effective Wednesday, Sept. 1, when Swedish assumes management of Stevens Hospital, the commissioners will shift focus to new community health programs, the news release said. These programs will be determined after the completion of a strategic assessment of the most pressing health-care needs within South Snohomish County, which includes gathering feedback from the community and local organizations and by conducting independent research. Programs may include:
– Health education
– Joint ventures with other health-care institutions
– Senior services
– Parenting classes
– Free bicycle helmets, dental supplies and flu shots
– Mental health provider network

“Especially when health-care services are not affordable for an increasing number of community members, the Commission for Health is very excited about making a healthy difference,” said Howard Thomas, interim superintendent, Commission for Health. “The commissioners are working on plans now to redefine what a public hospital district can do for its community.”

Part of the plan includes hiring a new superintendent of the hospital district. A nationwide search is underway and qualified candidates are encouraged to apply, or learn more about the position, at the organization’s website, http://www.ssccfh.org/.

According to the news release, funding for the wellness programs will come from the $7.2 million in annual hospital lease payments from Swedish and other income, including property taxes. Initially, only a portion of the money will be spent, board members say, as the Commission for Health gets up and running.

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