Last week, I met for the first time with NET's Board of Advisers to discuss my plans for the upcoming year. Steve Bliss, a representative from Renew Lehigh Valley, was there to alert NET for the need for a regional health bureau.
Why is this an issue? Currently we have two health bureau's in this area, one in Allentown, and one in Bethlehem. Anyone who live outside of those areas may have an official here and there, but are grossly unprotected. These groups and scattered officials for the most part do not communicate on a regular basis. What does this mean? That in the Lehigh Valley we are seriously lacking public health services like immunizations. And if were ever to have an large outbreak of any kind, or bioterrorism, there is no central entity to take charge, and take action. A Lehigh Valley Health Bureau would coordinate response to such emergencies.
Some officials are wary of a regional health bureau because they are afraid that it will tax the existing fragmented system. However, by creating a regional organization, state funding for the area would increase by $3.2 million. More than double what our region receives now - $1.4 million.
What can you do? Express your support! Voting is coming up in both counties on the issue.