The new medical center in Largo is a major step forward in developing the type of health care system that our residents deserve. For far too long, the county has had to keep our existing hospital and the associated medical facilities open with massive subsidies while the quality of care has continued to decay, causing a majority of insured county residents to seek health care services elsewhere. With the new state-of-the-art facility in Largo, everyone will have a reason to have their health care needs addressed in the County.

 

However, a world class health care system is more than a singular hospital. It is a total system of care involving all kinds of partners, from primary care facilities to the University of Maryland Medical System, working together to treat and prevent disease.

Here are some of my priorities for improving health care in the county.

Good nutrition is increasingly recognized as vital for good health, but too much of the county lacks access to healthy food, particularly inside the beltway.

  • I will engage real estate brokers, managers of grocery food chains, and other partners to bring healthy options to the county.
  • As County Executive, I will also pursue other options for increasing access to healthy food, including farmers markets, food stands, and food trucks that provide healthy food options.
  • We can also pursue food delivery services, so that fresh food can be brought to common areas such as metro stations or libraries for convenient pick up by residents.

Not just a public safety issue, drug addiction is fundamentally a health problem that demands our attention.

  • Providing accessible drug treatment options is a priority—if individuals want to change their lives, get healthy and contribute to their communities and families, we need to be ready to support them.

We should think creatively about how to provide residents with more information on health care options and to share habits and behaviors that will improve health.

  • Many insurers use community gathering spots such as barbershops, nail salons, and houses of worship to provide information; this is a practice we can utilize as a county government

While we often think of the body when it comes to health care, we also must focus on providing care for those suffering from mental afflictions.

  • As a country we have never spent the resources that we truly need to care for the mental health of our nation. While the county won’t be able to fill all of the gaps, and address all of our needs, we will need to do what we can.
  • As I remarked in my section in education, I plan on deploying social workers in every school in the county to serve as a means of connecting students and their families with services. While that is one good step, we need to make sure that county residents are aware of the services that are available and that there are places to turn to for help for themselves or a loved one.
  • Not only is investing more resources in social services a wise and virtuous investment, it will play dividends in decreased costs for public safety as it can often intercept an issue before it becomes an act of violence.