Orono: Town looks to form health advisory committee

Posted July 24, 2008, at 12 a.m.
Last modified Jan. 27, 2011, at 11:55 p.m.

ORONO, Maine&nbsp- A committee to examine public health after the loss of the town’s nurse is expected to form after receiving the go-ahead nod from the Orono Operations Committee.

The purpose of the advisory board will be to recommend or develop guidelines for responding to requests from service agencies that ask for funding or other support, and to report those requests to the town.

The final mission and formation of the committee will have to be approved by the Town Council. Assistant Town Manager Marcia Weinberger suggested Monday that the committee’ s initial task should be to establish a foundation for collaborative health initiatives using examples from Bucksport and Lewiston-Auburn, which are following a similar regional public health program.

“I’ m not sure that our residents know that all of these services are out there,” Weinberger said.

Town Manager Cathy Conlow’ s decision earlier this year not to recommend funding the town nurse position wasn’ t so much for monetary reasons, but rather was based on programming.

The position had become an increased liability for the town, many of the services duplicated those provided by other organizations in the region, and there were other constraints on the town that made the position less effective, she explained.

A handful of residents attended the meeting and a few offered suggestions, including the creation of a list of available services. Some, like resident Daniel LaPointe whose father is aging, also are worried that without a town nurse, the personal contact will be lost for those who need it

“I really like that presence in Orono,” LaPointe said. “A nurse is a great asset.”

The council as a whole is expected to address the formation of the advisory committee at its next meeting.

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