March 15, 2012
CONTACT: Bonnie Prigge, or Connie Willman at 573-265-2993
CEDS committee strategizes to identify Meramec Region’s health care needs
ST. JAMES — After some discussion, the Meramec Region Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) committee decided they needed more information to accurately identify the health issues facing the region.
At its meeting Feb. 28 at the Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC), the committee began work on the health care section of the CEDS. Planning Manager Connie Willman explained the CEDS helps define an economic development plan that details the needs of the region including resources such as health care. The CEDS is updated every five years and is required by the Economic Development Administration.
“What you’re doing in here drives a lot of the things we do in this agency, and we need your input,” Willman said.
Willman asked the group to review health care facilities for the region as well as county studies on health and preventative practices from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
“It comes back to understanding the health care needs of our region and what we have and what we don’t have,” Executive Director Bonnie Prigge said.
Willman noted MRPC could conduct an analysis of health care resources in the region, per the group’s request.
The group also discussed the value of hosting a summit where health care professionals could discuss services and programs within the region. The summit would provide direction to update the objectives for health care.
The summit would also give better insight to areas of health care not fully developed. Each invited agency would explain services offered and what resources are available to fit the needs of the region.
The group asked that staff look at information available and explore resources to conduct a health care assessment on the region.
To assist with developing health care resources, Prigge gave a presentation regarding the Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH).
MFH, established in 2000, is in its tenth year of grant making and has awarded $430 million in funds to help improve the health of the underserved in 84 Missouri counties, Prigge said.
Prigge noted grant applicants for MFH must be a non-profit or coordinate work with a non-profit.
“As we talk about health care needs, this might be an option for addressing some of the objectives we put in our plan,” Prigge said.
Committee member T.R. Dudley, mayor of Potosi, discussed Federally Qualified Health Centers, which are community-based organizations that provide health care services to the medically underserved within a community.
“This is a grassroots effort that allows a community to come together and fill its health care needs,” Dudley said.
Missouri Primary Care Association governs the centers, which are able to sustain themselves, provide a myriad of services and can also relieve pressure on hospital emergency rooms, Dudley said.
The health care centers can benefit a community by filling the gaps in health care resources, Dudley said.
The next CEDS meeting is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. April 24 at MRPC, located at 4 Industrial Drive, St. James. Meetings are open to the public.
The CEDS committee is responsible for reviewing the region’s comprehensive economic development plan, suggesting objectives and action items and monitoring the progress of the region meeting its milestones. For more information on the CEDS, contact Willman at MRPC at 573-265-2993 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CEDS committee members discuss options for strengthening the Meramec Region’s health care resources. Members from left are Cheri Tune of Phelps County, Wayne Morgan of Pulaski County, James Morgan of Pulaski County, and Dave Dudenhoeffer of Osage County.