The Springfield Board of Health held its final meeting of the year on Dec. 12. First of all, as the Chairman of the Board of Health, I would like to thank the members of board for their time, dedication and invaluable input regarding the health and well being of the township, especially those of our health care professionals.
During the course of 2012, the configuration of the board changed from an autonomous board, appointed by the township committee to a board comprised of the governing body and four health care professionals. The township committee, by adopting Ordinance 2012-17, which essentially amended the board configuration and provided flexibility in the BOH meeting schedule. The benefits of having the governing body on the board along with health care professionals proved to be a great combination. The governing body was familiar with all activities within Springfield and the health care professionals provided a higher level of health care knowledge that was lacking on previous boards.
Most recently, the township change health department service providers. The Madison Health Department officially started serving Springfield on December 1st, but actually began addressing individual health concerns of residents when deferred by Westfield in late November before their contract ended. Hearing what they have accomplished in the first two weeks of their tenure is impressive and Springfield residents can rest assured that their health and wellness are in good hands. The Madison Health Department provided the BOH an extremely detailed description of how they are going to accomplish their contractual obligations in accordance with N.J.A.C. 8:52, Public Health Practice Standards of Performance for Local Boards of Health in New Jersey. This spreadsheet was actually incorporated into their contract as a means to measure their performance over the course of the year. This was never included in previous contracts. At the end of the day, all State Mandated Acts will be accomplished by the health department regardless of who is providing the service along with the Programmatic Guidelines for Best Practices (Non-State Mandated Practices) as spelled out in the spreadsheet IAW N.J.A.C. 8:52.
One of the five functions of a BOH is Financial Stewardship. It is incumbent upon the BOH to find the best services for the best price. We accomplished this through the shared services agreement with the Madison Health Department saving Springfield residents over $30,000 per year without sacrificing the level of services. It is my firm belief that Springfield residents are going to see more community outreach from the health department than ever before in the coming year. As matter of efficiency and cost savings as well, the BOH approved hiring Maryellen Brennan, Deputy Registrar for Springfield as the BOH Health Secretary. She is extremely knowledgeable with regard to local food establishments, issuing BOH licenses and overseeing the famers market. She will receive a stipend per meeting as opposed to a flat rate for the year as in previous years.
I would encourage all residents to visit the township website’s Health Department page and view the Public Health TV link and tune to our local public access channel for health department information.
I would like to wish everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year.