Lincoln County Board of Health
March 9th, 2021 Public Meeting
By Sally Durham

On March 09, 2021, the Lincoln County, Montana Board of Health held a public work meeting. The largely informal meeting clarified language for their mission statement, Operational Procedure 2, the manner in which the minutes of meetings will be kept, guidelines for responses to public comments, and how the public can get an item on the agenda. For the time-stamped summary, please keep reading.

Meeting Begin

:50 Chair- Be thinking about what kind of committee's you want to head up. Keep this meeting informal. Introductions of board members and their qualifications.

4:01 History of the board's formation. Mission statement inherited from previous organization in 2016.

7:12 Reading of old mission statement. Chair thinks it is too vague. Wants to change the statement to include language about following evidence-based information. Also wants a section re: personal health vs public health (what one person does to influence health of others.)

9:00 Members discuss what "evidence-based" means. Evidence can be found to support different opinions.

Chair- reworded her statement to say reliable evidence.

9:34 Reading of other mission statements from other boards for examples of language.

10:53 No decisions will be made tonight. This is exchanging ideas. Mission statement will be presented at next meeting after they play with the wording till everyone on board is satisfied.

12:01 Chair- some phrasing she likes: Highest possible level of health, to protect the vulnerable. 14 deaths in this county are 14 too many. We need to help those with comorbidities.

13:45 Discussion re: social services needs in pandemic, including STD's, mental health, addiction, etc.

14:26 Member- Does "Public Health" include only communicable diseases?

Chair-Not wearing masks infringe on others.

Member- Vulnerable are those with comorbidities and the elderly. Tracking is important. 14 dead, and most of them are 65 and older, only one under 50.

Chair- No forced vaccinations.

19:45 Chair- definitions: personal- what just effects you (nutrition, exercise) Public health (anything that effects others).

21:00 member- Board's role is education not enforcement, we still need more information on what personal and what public health the board is going to get involved in.

Smoking for example. We provide education and medication. But it becomes a public health effect if they smoke in public buildings.

24:10 Chair redirected conversation back to the wording of the mission statement. Prevention, protection, intervention, education.

24:52 member- What does "intervention" look like? Counselling, suicide prevention, after school programs, safe places to walk. Most people are vit D deficient. Deficiency is strongly associated with severe cases of covid and hospitalization.

28:00 Chair, people should talk to their health care provider, board shouldn't recommend supplements.

Member- argues that dr. appointments are 15 min. Doctors don't have time to go over all of the contributing factors and healthy habits that will prevent their issues. Patients don't know enough to ask the questions. Education would go a long way.

Chair- education of vitamin D is pushing.

Member- Argued that they set up stands for vaccine, they wouldn't be doing that with vit. We should educate on a variety of things, including vaccines and vitamins

31:27 Member- recommendations on safety of vitamins changes. Vit D, people are deficient. Discussed changing science and prescription changes that make the current science unreliable.

33:51 Member Vit D, this far north, it's hard to get enough. It's an example of what preventative measures can be taken to improve things. Preventative measure that people should know about.

34:50 member- It goes back to the "Evidence." The science changes. 9 out of 10 doctors recommended smoking. Rather than a specific vitamin, we can provide information on vitamins in general and tell people to make an educated personal decision.

35:46 Member- Can educate on vitamins that shouldn't be taken with certain conditions. Promote sound scientific advances. SO much of the recommendations are marketing.

37:28 Chair redirected conversation to mission statement. Suggested wording "The Board of Health for Lincoln County promotes education, prevention of disease and illness, strive for a healthy environment and promote healthy choices by fostering sound sustained advances in science underlying medicine, public health and social services in setting policies and regulation to protect the health of Lincoln County residents."

41:05 discussed the wording and meanings

"integrates state and county community efforts" suggested

43:09 a lot of regulations come from the state, the community has to buy in.

44:01 Environmental hazards discussed, emergency management

44:57 promoting optimal health and safety through education protection, prevention and intervention through integrates federal, state, county and community efforts.

46:17 We'll print it out and present it at the next meeting.

47:19 Operation 2- need guidelines for public comment. Suggested we have public comment before action items. Trial of that method went well, people responded positively.

50:02 draft of operational procedure 2:

51:38 Discussed public verbal vs written comments, written is perfectly acceptable.

52:37 MCA covers guidelines for the minutes of the meetings. Robert's rules should come in after that if MCA doesn't cover a topic. Must include date, time, place of mtg. Identities of those on the board that attend, the items discussed and/or decided, requests or votes by members.

54:09 Government rules come first, then the bylaws, and Operation 2 is the specifics on how to implement them, followed by subcommittees to oversee.

55:30 We need to review the bylaws, we'll do that later.

56:00 When public comments can be given for agenda and non agenda items are given, but there is flexibility. No action can be taken before comments.

57:20 Action items require a vote (like the mission statement) and will have public comments first

59:00 Extended comments from board should be relevant to the topic and/or offer clarifications

1:03:43 Public agenda item comments vs nonagenda item comments. Language adjusted. Public can address any board item and give their name.

1:05:30 Zoom mtg participants procedure. Changed language to accommodate disabilities. All remarks are presented to the body and not individuals on board. Chair must recognize the speaker. People with similar comments can organize and pick a rep to present their collective comment.

1:08:14 Questions will be asked of the chair. Comments limited to 3 min or as time permits. A warning can be given at 3 min. Comments can be stopped if not presented respectfully or not relevant to a board topic.

1:14:00 Board is not obligated to respond.

1:16:58 Member- On controversial topics, or rude presentation, we shouldn't avoid answering altogether. They can bring up real issues. We need to look into it.

1:18:00 Member- Example given over the efficacy of the test for the virus. Test doesn't necessarily indicate the patient is infected, but they somehow or another came in contact with the virus.

1:19:01 Member- People have made up their minds ahead of time. We don't answer back at the time, but we can connect people to the resources where we get our information. Don't leave people hanging.

1:22:01 Chair- No opinions should be written in the minutes.

Member- Argument made that the gist of public comments should be included in the official record.

1:23:00 Chair- people present false information

Member- Member- That's not our call. Minutes show what was presented as a matter of record. The opinion on their information is irrelevant.

Member- The "substance of all matters proposed" is what we put in minutes.

Member- Public should be told to bring their comment in writing so it becomes part of the public record without being interpreted by the board. Submitted with minutes.

Chair- Need to follow MCA and Roberts Rules.

Members- What people say should be on record

chair - We end up with 8 pages of minutes. And sometimes people say inaccurate things, like comments about a board member and it ends up in the minutes forever.

1:25:51 All electronic comments will be saved in the record. The email address to send them in is on the website.

1:29:02 Minutes are not a transcript. Minutes kept at all regular, work, and committee meetings.

1:32:56 Zoom meetings. Need to make sure a roll call is made on vote to make sure their vote is counted.

1:34:00 Requirements for outside party to Request an item on the agenda is set forth, who to send it to, 7 days before mtg, name of group, time needed to present, and detailed summary. If accepted, they have (enough time as previously decided by the board chair) to present.

1:39:00 A long presentation can be given to a committee rather than the public meeting. Then the board will present pertinent info at mtg. Chair will determine if request is granted.

1:43:09 Regular board meeting must be every quarter. Work meetings can be every month or every other month.

Public Comment

1:44:24 Public- Appreciate the board's work. MT has strongest sunshine laws in union. Art2 sec 8&(. public has right to participate in decisions. If we had the same packets, we'd be better able to understand what's going on in mtg. If you don't respond to comments, people think you have something to hide. Maybe not immediately, so use your attorney to write up a response.

1:47:13 Public- Are mtg minute public. Where do we find them? (Minutes are posted on site after they are approved and signed.)

“When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.” - Nelson Mandela