MANHATTAN, Kan. – The Riley County Interim Public Health Advisory Board took the final step toward becoming a formal body on Wednesday.
The interim advisory board unanimously approved changes to a charter resolution that will establish the board as a legitimate entity. Members requested several minor changes be made to the final draft before it is submitted to the Riley County Commission.
“I’ll make the changes to the draft that they looked at and we discussed,” Riley County counselor Clancy Holeman said. “I’ll send that to Susie (Kufahl) and she’ll circulate that among members of the advisory board.
The advisory board will consist of nine members which will include, but not be limited to, a doctor, veterinarian, nurse, and dentist.
“The discussion was based upon wanting to make sure that now, and always in the future, that the advisory board be broadly representative of all the people that live in Riley County,” Health Administrator Susanne Kufahl said.
Initial appointees will serve staggered terms, ranging from one year to three years, to ensure turnover. Future board members will serve three-year terms.
Once the county commission approves the charter resolution, it must go 60 days without public protest before it becomes official.
Over the next few months, the Public Health Advisory Board will look to begin the process of getting the Riley County Health Department accredited.
“We don’t have a hard-and-fast, imminent deadline looming before us that we have to meet in order to become accredited,” Kufahl said. “There’s a lot of work to do to move in that direction. We will have to go through several prerequisite steps before we even get to planning for accreditation.”
The advisory board will be looking at a number of elements to help facilitate what is expected to be a multi-year undertaking.
“Quality improvement, quality assurance, community needs assessment; there’s just a lot of work to be done,” Kufahl said. “We’re going to look specifically internally at the work that we do so we can make that better and also externally with community partners and how we can interact with them to make our services dove-tail better with what goes on in the community.”
Kufahl contends that accreditation could help the department obtain more federal and state grants while simultaneously enhancing the perception of health care in Riley County.
“It will mean to us and to the community that we’re doing a good job,” Kufahl said. “That we’re continually looking and evaluating how we can do a better job and we will be able to document that for any aspect of care or service that we’re talking about.”