The local Democratic Health Committee has focused on Josephine County Public Health over the past four months. In February we became aware of a decision by the county commissioners to explore outsourcing of the county public health programs via an RFP( request for proposals).
Our group sought more information on reasons for public health changes and wanted to know which programs would be outsourced. In February the committee chairperson met with Mike Weber, newly hired public health director. Mike Weber brings extensive experience in public health to the table. Weber said he hoped the RFP, at the very least, would suggest new and creative ideas for meeting community needs. He clarified that the county public health department would, however, remain as the managing, contractual authority. However he said he could not share any details until after the May 25th deadline for proposals, at which time a public hearing would occur. The RFP, as originally proposed by the county commissioners was 12 pages, but in final form came to 350 pages.
Weber spoke at the June 12th Democratic meeting and stated that, in the end, not a single proposal was received. One partial explanation he suggested was that public health services are not very remunerative. There are now no current plans to outsource or privatize the county public health programs. He did state that some changes could be expected in the future, as public health needs continue to evolve in response to an environment where many more people are receiving health services through other means: As the Josephine County population grows, more medical professionals open practices here. Passage of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion has also increased access to health services. Some modernization of services, from the state, is also expected. But Weber did not specify what those might be.
Weber also confirmed that public health clinical services will be moved to another location in the future, from their current location on Dimmick Street. The Dimmick building and former Josephine Memorial Hospital site are being developed for other purposes.
The committee will monitor further changes, but no action is planned by the Health Committee at this time.
The Democratic Party of Oregon (DPO) 2018 Platform on Health Care is detailed in Article 6, “Health Care, Basic Needs and Gun Safety.” The DPO lists Health Care as the number one priority Legislative Action Item (LAI).
2018 Party Platform: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1D7kKA_5ITVqAnqZvtq1a6PDXqcPIY6j9/view
2018 Legislative Action Items: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1tpLpdNlAv_LC9uwhi60I8HGSNAUj3K0t/view