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Sedgwick County Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) coordinator

From Sedgwick County Commissioners Karl Peterjohn and Richard Ranzau.

Nanny-state progressives are rejoicing at the recent decision by the Sedgwick County Commission to restore the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) coordinator. The restored position will be used to support the development of a Community Health Assessment (CHA). A government-centric CHIP is then developed and implemented by government bureaucrats and Bloomberg drones in order to “fix” the problems identified in the assessment. As common-sense conservatives and with Commissioner Ranzau being a medical professional, we opposed restoring this position for multiple reasons.

Most folks understand individual health problems are the result of complex interactions of multiple factors including individual lifestyle decisions and genetics. Research clearly shows that medical professionals interacting with their patients in an effective and meaningful manner is the best and most appropriate way to address individual health issues. Increasing the size of government and expanding the nanny-state is no substitute for the doctor-patient relationship.

The CHA and CHIP are solutions looking for a problem. The most recent CHA bears that out in its own findings. Part of the overall CHA is the “Community Themes and Strengths Assessment” which involved going door to door to ask residents a number of questions relating to health services. The findings run contrary to what we are led to believe. The report says that residents didn’t report concerns around access to healthy foods and they felt their communities were livable, safe and had networks of support” and “community members identified relatively few health barriers that prevent them from accessing services; they tend to seek out and obtain preventive check-ups when needed; and have health insurance which covers a variety of services.”

However, the CHA also involves something called the “Forces of Change Assessment.” A collection of 44 people, predominantly government bureaucrats and Bloomberg drones, got together and used “colored sticky walls” to brainstorm what they thought about health issues in the community. Not surprisingly, their opinions ran contrary to the data provided by the citizen assessment. So how did the CHA resolve the differences between these differing opinions? Incredibly, they rejected the opinions and views of the residents and instead relied upon their own subjective viewpoints.

By rejecting resident views of their own health status, the CHA revealed the true intent of this endeavor: to create a document that can be used to promote more taxpayer spending and to advance government driven nanny-state policies. The CHA and CHIP comprise a smoke and mirrors approach to advance the progressive goal of injecting the government into individual health issues and the doctor-patient relationship. This approach has been and will continue to be an inefficient, ineffective, and intrusive failure. That is why we oppose the recent BOCC decision and will continue to support doctor-patient driven solutions for effective and meaningful improvements in individual health.