Health Authority

Counties are not required to have a health department or a health authority. If the county chooses not to appoint a health authority, the director of 1 of the state’s 8 regional health departments acts as the health authority for that county.

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The Region Eleven director must deal with 13 county judges while providing guidance and support to the other 6 counties that do have health departments. The 2012 Act, which established PHE as a national body, also returned to local authorities the responsibility for a range of community and public health services. Each upper tier local authority is required to appoint a director of public health, an officer of the authority who is responsible for the authority’s public health functions including responding to emergencies.

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Only 73 (29%) of 254 Texas counties have an appointed health authority.3 Expanding the number of counties with LHAs may help to make public health services more available in rural areas. The Ministry of Health works together with a provincial health authority, five regional health authorities, and a First Nations health authority to provide high quality, appropriate and timely health services to British Columbians. Although the Regional Health Authorities all have advanced public health degrees, the result of counties having no LHA is an inequity in the presence of public health services between counties with appointed LHAs and counties without an appointed LHA. Counties without an LHA do not have a locally based health official who citizens and public officials can consult.

Providing an automatic free membership for LHAs would be a perk that might make the LHA position more attractive to physicians. By contrast, many LHAs are part-time primary care physicians who cannot cancel patient appointments to participate in meetings during regular working hours. TALHO should consider developing programs that would meet the needs and time constraints of primary care physicians.

  • These decrements are made up for by close cbc test associations with patients and the community.
  • Their mothers concluded that the swimming pool was the likely source of the outbreak.
  • Rural physicians frequently have difficulty leaving their practices to travel to meetings for continuing medical education .
  • That small additional income may provide a stable financial resource to supplement income from uncertain medical practice receipts.
  • This benefit may make the difference between a physician staying in the community or leaving for more lucrative large cities.

For instance, Region Eleven of the Texas DSHS, located in Harlingen, Texas, is responsible for 19 counties with an area of square miles. For a single health authority to provide and administer public health services to 13 counties in an area larger than Maryland and Massachusetts combined is a challenging task. An LHA is responsible to 1 county judge for public health activities in the county.

TALHO could partner with the TMA and TAFP to provide TALHO information and training experiences at TMA and TAFP medical meetings. TALHO could offer full membership to LHAs at an attractive rate because in most cases it is paid for by the physicians themselves, not by the county or city that the physician serves.

The Texas Association of Local Health Officials is a nonprofit organization created to further members’ common goals, including preventing disease and protecting the environment.22 The TALHO could grant LHAs membership in TALHO. This LHA membership would provide access to TALHO services, including the Health Alert Network and some video and teleconferencing classes.

These laws provide a starting point for understanding local public health services, but they do not paint the complete picture. Local public health agencies also must provide services or perform activities to comply with other laws. The cornerstone of the LHA initiatives is an evidence-based public health training course to prepare LHAs to discharge their legal duties. The course would be primarily designed for appointed LHAs and primary care physicians.

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