COUNTY: Better ways in sharing

Shared services don’t always have to be a merging or consolidation of services between governments.

We note, then, the Chautauqua County Health and Human Services Department taking over health care services within the Chautauqua County Jail, an idea brought up by Christine Schuyler, county health and human services director, last year. Previously, the jail relied on corrections officers to notice mental disorders, substance abuse problems and a range of other health-related issues. Now, a nurse practitioner, experienced in correctional and public health, will handle such duties.

“We are also recruiting for registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and health aid/assistant staff,” Schuyler said. “Because of public health’s focus on health promotion and disease prevention, we are expanding these areas through instruction; counseling; preventive screenings such as sexually transmitted disease, HIV and hepatitis C testing; family planning services including long acting reversible contraceptives; immunizations; tobacco cessation; and diabetes and heart disease management.”

While it would be nice if the initiative saved the county money, we are sure it will result in a better service to those in the jail and hopefully result in healthier people leaving the jail when they are released. Two thumbs up to Sheriff Joe Gerace and to Schuyler for making this change when the easier route would have been to keep the status quo.