READING, Pa. — Berks County commissioners voted Thursday to appoint five people to the Berks County Core Project Team to study health and public health service delivery.
Last month, the commissioners hired Health Management Associates to gather information and make recommendations that could improve health service delivery across the county.
The project team will work in collaboration with Health Management Associates.
The project aims to identify problems in health service delivery and how the county can help fill the gaps.
The study is not underway to determine whether the commissioners should establish a county health department, even though the commissioners have received pressure over the past two years from county residents to do so.
The study is funded – approximately $168,000 – by federal funding from the American Rescue Plan.
Commissioner Christian Y Leinbach appointed Dr. Solomon Laush, Executive Director of the Berks Business Education Coalition; Commissioner Kevin Barnhardt named Carolyn Bazik, executive director of Co-County Wellness, and Commissioner Michael Rivera named Michael Toledo, president and CEO of Reading Hispanic Center and Berks County. Pamela Seaman, administrator of the Berks County Office of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, and Brian Gottschall, director of the Berks County Department of Emergency Services.
In other matters, Leinbach said he contacted Dr. Jill Hackman, executive director of the Berks County Intermediate Unit, following the fatal shooting at a Texas school earlier this week.
“There are no words to describe what happened in the Texas school shooting,” Leinbach said. “It’s insane; it is a tragedy, but we must do more. I contacted Dr. Jill Hackman suggesting that it might be a good idea to have a meeting of law enforcement, mental health (officials) and developmental disabilities (experts) to look at schools in the county of Berks and what we do. what we do well and what perhaps we should do differently.
Lainbach said such a reunion is not unprecedented, as he and Barnhardt attended at least two similar events several years ago.
“And the idea is not a kumbaya meeting,” he added. “It’s a serious examination of what we are doing and what we should be doing differently.”
Leinbach said people told him it was impossible to protect against all threats.
“That’s true,” he said, “but that doesn’t mean you don’t make every effort to protect yourself against all possible threats.” So we’ll wait and see what happens.