As the country sits through tireless efforts from the U.S. House of Representatives to repeal the already-ruled-constitutional Affordable Care Act, Bruce Dart, director of the Tulsa City-County Health Department, speaks a recurring phrase.
"We just don't know."
In the wake of the release of the Leavitt report, which called for an increased role for local health departments in the overall health care process in Oklahoma, Dart and company are waiting to learn just exactly what that would mean.
"I've seen the Leavitt report, but I don't really have the go-ahead to implement the plan yet," he
However, that plan in question is the question.
"The biggest thing is what's going to happen in Congress," he
However, if the Affordable Care Act's implementation skews away from prevention and more toward primary health care, Dart
said that could cause problems for local health departments, as prevention is a primary focus.
"There's supposed to be more funding for primary health care and a big focus on the home model," he
But that would necessitate major changes in many aspects of the health department.
"Local health departments have always been viable as a safety net entity," he
As an example, Dart
referenced chronic diseases, a focus of about 75 percent of the health department's workload.
"We know how we at the local level can get more involved in activity that will stop clients from either becoming victims of chronic disease or at least delay the onset through healthier living," he
But Dart and the rest of the health department aren't just sitting around wringing their hands.
"We're waiting, but we also want to be ready to go when it happens," he
One gets the idea that it's really frustrating to be Bruce Dart