Tim Leeds Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
Representatives of the Hill County Health Department said a front-page story in Tuesday’s edition of the Havre Daily News was in error when it reported the county government was considering stopping the Health Department’s participation in the Hill County Health Consortium. Hill County Director of Nursing Riki Handstede and Clay Vincent, county sanitarian and planner, said in a conference call with a HDN reporter Tuesday afternoon that while the agenda for the meeting of the Hill County Health Board, scheduled for 12:30 p. m. today, included discussing the Health Department’s level of participation in the consortium, withdrawing participation was never planned. “We’ll always be a participant in it,” Vincent said. The article reported Handstede had said the agenda included discussing the possibility of stopping participation in the consortium, which consists of a group of citizens and representatives of entities in the county with the purpose of assessing health care needs in the county and finding ways to fill gaps in coverage of those needs. “The consortium is really just a community program,” Handstede said during the conference call. “We certainly will support the consortium, we just don't know at what level we will participate in it.” The consortium was created in 2003 in an effort spearheaded by the Health Department. One of its first actions was assessing the need for additional health care for low income people with no or inadequate insurance, which led to the creation of the Bullhook Clinic, now the Bullhook Community Health Center. Bullhook provides basic medical care, including offering reduced charges on a sliding scale to low- and Moderate-income people. Handstede said the goal of the consortium is also one of the goals of the Health Department. “It’s part of what the Health Department is supposed to do,” she said. While the Health Department will continue to participate in the consortium, the question to be discussed at the meeting of the Board of Health today was at what level it would participate, she said. Some of the questions needing to be resolved include deciding who is in charge of organizing meetings, how agendas would be set, and so on, Handstede said.