“We need to do a program landscape so we know exactly what programs are available for people at each agency,” said Patrick Long, United Way representative. “Before we can address a problem, we have to know where we can send people and how they can receive help.”
Members of the council are asked to remember meetings are held the fourth Tuesday of every month at noon in SkyRidge Medical Center’s conference room.
Shady Hernandez, representative from Neighbors in Need, said knowing what resources are available would make it easier to refer people to other agencies.
She said by working together, families and individuals could reach a place of empowerment to take responsibility for their own lives.
“Another assessment would allow us to see if we have missed an area where we can help these people further,” Hernandez said.
Several members pointed out services are duplicated among various organizations in the community. At the same time, there are shortages in other areas, like psychiatric care.
AnnMarie Brewer, SkyRidge representative, said organization and an understanding between the Health Council members would benefit the group.
“Members of the Health Council need to report to each other so we do not duplicate our services,” Brewer said. “We need to know what is going on in our various organizations.”
In response to this problem, upcoming meetings will not have a specific program. Instead, members will identify, analyze, discuss and organize existing agency services. These services will then be displayed on a comprehensive list and, hopefully, an Internet database.
Roxanne Wooten, a representative from Bradley County Health Department, said the Health Council needs to marry problems in the community with services offered.
A list of issues in the community has been provided by both BCHD and United Way. These include the needs of the community as well as health risks.
“What kinds of things in the community need to be put in place to help guide these individuals, whether [the issue is] physical or mental, to a more cost-effective health care system?” Wooten asked.
The Health Council hopes to be able to answer questions like the one Wooten raised after their services have been organized. Officials feel an organized service list will help individuals receive proper care.
“An essential part of providing for people’s needs is continuum of care,” Brewer said.
Brewer reminded members attendance is important to form a comprehensive collection of services and address the issues in Bradley County and Cleveland.