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Community Kicks Ideas Around at County Health Care Workshop


Palmetto -- At Wednesday's health care work session, Manatee County Commissioners sat and listened to the ideas attendees presented. Participants worked charrette-style in groups of a dozen or more on several different topics related to the industry. Most of those who participated left understanding more about the enormity of the challenge, if not how to solve it.

Each table of participants spent 20 minutes discussing the subject matter assigned to each table, then moved to the next subject at the next table. 

The subjects: community health priorities; access to care; community stakeholders; prevention; role of local government in health care; health care plan; and innovation and technology.

The 100 people who attended were mostly health care professionals from local hospitals, clinics, home care companies and pharmacies. 


Some participants couldn't help from dragging their personal perception of what they felt the rules governing the industry should reflect. 

The cradle-to-grave evaluation charrettes are designed to address, attempts to steer around personal grievances and more toward understanding the culture and goals in search for direction.

There was a facilitator that stayed at each table, assembling the ideas of each group, writing participants' ideas on a white board. 

At the "prevention" table, suggestions of better access, education and nutrition were suggested. 


At the "community stakeholders" table, participants said everything from "If you can get to the emergency room, there should be help there waiting for you" to "it's not my problem." 

At the "information and technology" table, many of those in the health care industry quickly identified with the lack of sharing their information with "their competitors."

There was only one mention of bringing down the cost, which didn't go far, I would assume, because of the room full of health care providers.

BOCC Chairman Larry Bustle announced at the start of the meeting that it wasn't an endorsement for or against the half-cent referendum that failed to pass last year, or the efforts to revisit that same attempt again. Bustle said, "We are here to collect your ideas on how we can better health care in Manatee County."


What seemed to be missing from the mix of stakeholders were those most in need of health care -- without the means. If there lies the problem, any effort to better the care without their input would seem to be missing a crucial element.

On June 2, at 6 p.m., a repeat of Wednesday's event is scheduled, and everyone is invited to come. It, too, will be at the Bradenton Area Convention Center in Palmetto.


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