The Four Corners Health Department serves the residents of Butler, Polk, Seward and York Counties. Recently there have been questions about the Four Corners Board of Health members; in general, who sits on the board, and what are their responsibilities. The composition of the Four Corners Board of Health was laid out by the Nebraska State Legislature in 2001 by Legislative Bill (LB) 692.
This bill became law and allowed counties to come together through interlocal agreements and form district health departments. Butler, Polk, Seward and York Counties developed an interlocal agreement and formed the Four Corners Health Department. It was designated in the interlocal agreement who would be on the Board of Health, and what their responsibilities would be. There would be 10 total members on the Board of Health:
- One member of each County Board is appointed to the Board of Health
- Each County Board appoints a “Spirited Community Member” to the Board of Health
- A Medical Doctor
- A Dentist
The Four Corners Board of Health meets 4-5 times per year, and is subject to the Open Meetings Act. The Board provides oversight of the Health Department’s functions and services.
Margaret Brink, 2021 President of the Four Corners Board of Health, would like to address a comment she made on a Jan. 13 York County Briefing. She issues a “sincere apology for causing negative attention drawn to the Director and staff of the Four Corners Health Department. A poor choice of words was used in a personal comment on the January 13 briefing. The remark was a personal choice and not a reflection of the work or mission of the Four Corners Health Department or the Board of Health. It was not meant to be judgmental or said with malice towards unvaccinated residents. It was inappropriate for a leader to use. It is hopeful that Four Corners continues to be recognized and appreciated for the valuable work done for everyone in this district.”
The stated legislative intent for local public health departments includes working collaboratively in their communities to assure the full range of public health services as prescribed by the CDC. These essential elements of core public health functions are broad, and obviously go well beyond COVID response.
Essential Public Health Services:
- Assess and monitor population health.
- Investigate, diagnose and address health hazards and root causes.
- Communicate effectively to inform and educate.
- Strengthen, support and mobilize communities and partnerships.
- Create, champion and implement policies, plans and laws.
- Utilize legal and regulatory actions.
- Enable equitable access.
- Build a diverse and skilled workforce.
- Improve and innovate through evaluation, research and quality improvement.
- Build and maintain a strong organizational infrastructure for public health.
It is the commitment and mission of the Four Corners Board of Health to support the Health Department and its staff in delivering these services. The Board does this through its governance related to policy development, resource stewardship, legal authority, partner engagement, continuous improvement and oversight. More information about the governance functions of a local public health board can be found at: https://www.nalboh.org/page/GovernanceResources#:~:text=The%20Six%20Functions%20of%20Public%20Health%20Governance%20are%20policy%20development,%2C%20continuous%20improvement%2C%20and%20oversight.
For questions or more information, please contact the Four Corners Health Department at 402-362-2621 or visit the website at www.fourcorners.ne.gov.