Health Collaborative Idea Discussed

Thursday, June 25, 2015
By Transcript Staff

It’s an idea that has come up in the past and now officials are revitalizing the idea of a health collaborative between the communities of Winthrop, Revere and Chelsea – to be known as North Suffolk Public Health Collaborative.

On Tuesday night in Winthrop, representatives from the Metropolitan Area Planning Council presented officials with a potential model for accomplishing the collaborative.

The collaborative would allow the three communities to work together to determine public health priorities and enhance programs and existing health services. Discussions about this first started in 2013.

Greg Miao, a municipal services specialist at the MAPC, said that the three communities are all in Suffolk County that lumps them into Boston. As a result the communities don’t benefit from all the resources.

Mark Fine, director the MAPC’s Municipal Collaboration department, said nothing is final and that the municipal leadership will have to decide on who will head the collaborative. There would also be an inter-municipal agreement that would structure a board and report to the heads of the three communities.

Chris Miller, of the Chelsea health department, said his city is in a transitional state right now and he has to see where Chelsea fits into all of this.

“We have big city problems with small town resources,” Miller said.

Also at the meeting were the Winthrop Board of Health, town of Winthrop grants administrator Joe Domelowicz, Winthrop Town Council President Peter Gill, Revere Mayor Dan Rizzo, and board of health members from Revere and Chelsea.

Miao suggested that the collaborative could be headed by one person. He estimated a salary range of $75,000-$100,000. That person would not replace anyone on the Board of Health or health departments.

Rizzo said that all three communities do tremendous work as individuals but they are going to have to work together to sell the idea of a new position.

“This is to augment what the staff is already doing,” Domelowicz said. “We have staff that work hard and are overworked. It makes sense to share the load and work together.”

“I like the idea of having a bigger voice,” said Winthrop Board of Health Chair Nick Loconte. “And this could pay for itself down the line.”

Before a final decision is made Miao suggested that the Department of Public Health be contacted. He also suggested the communities speak to the local healthcare providers to see how they would feel about a health collaborative.

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