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Public Policy and Public Health

At the Public Health Study Commission meeting last Thursday at the NC General Assembly, I was asked several times if there was an issue on the agenda that was of particular interest to WakeMed.  The answer is “yes” to the entire agenda, we are public health! 

Hospitals like WakeMed are on the front lines of all public health issues by choice (or more often, by default).  We have developed partnerships with organizations like Alliance Medical Ministry to make sure our community’s uninsured have access to medical care, outside of our emergency departments.  We have developed a statewide pediatric obesity program, ENERGIZE!, that successfully prevents children from developing diabetes. 

Hospitals invest in public health initiatives because we are good community stewards and because we truly want to help the residents of our counties and state be healthier.  Let’s face it – if we don’t take an active role in public health, we end up fixing all of the expensive medical problems people develop from the lack of good public health.

As director of WakeMed’s government relations department, it has become evident that the average consumer or elected official has a limited knowledge of what goes on in a hospital. Which is understandable – unless you are a patient, visitor or employee, why would you go to a hospital? This is why I’ve decided to begin sharing thoughts on how public policy actually affects WakeMed and the care we provide. So, check frequently for the “Capital City Hospital Watch” series to learn more about the important relationship between public policy and health care.