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Jim Guidry Commentaries
Harris County
Harris County Mayors' & Councils' Association
by Jim Guidry
Friday, February 17, 2012

The Harris County Mayors’ & Councils’ Association met on Thursday at Hotel ZaZa in Houston.

Deer Park Council Member Beckie Stockstill-Cobb, who is president of the association, welcomed the elected officials from the various municipal governments in Harris County and introduced Houston Mayor Annise Parker, who was the host of the meeting.  Listen: MP3 RealPlayer

“We are very happy to have you in Houston,” Parker said, introducing the members of Houston City Council in attendance.  “This region is more than the city of Houston and we all have to work together to make this region a better place.”

Baytown Council Member Terry Sain, who is vice president of the association, introduced David Lopez, president and CEO of the Harris County Hospital District, who was the featured speaker.  Listen: MP3 RealPlayer

“It’s the fifth largest public health care system in the nation,” Sain said, describing the hospital district.  “It serves more than a million patients annually through the services of its network of three hospitals, 12 neighborhood health centers, 13 homeless shelter clinics, 6 school based clinics and 4 mobile health care centers.  That’s probably more than a good number of states have, and I’m sure a good number of countries have.”

Lopez reviewed the problems facing the hospital district, beginning with the lack of adequate insurance by the residents of the county.

“One point two million people in our community are insured,” he said.  “There is another 500,000 people who have insurance but they are under-insured.”

He said the district continues to struggle to provide health care to the large uninsured population.

Lopez said a major health problem in the county and elsewhere is the lack of proper diet and exercise and the abuse of tobacco, alcohol and drugs by those who eventually find themselves seeking help from the system.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” he said, encouraging the elected officials to support wellness programs in their cities.

The next meeting of the HCMCA will be on March 15 at the Deer Park Theatre and Municipal Court Building.




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