Ocean County Health Officials are currently working to assess the needs of residents through a special advisory group.

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About 170 doctors, healthcare and human service workers are looking to gauge trends, needs, costs and how to better serve the public. The Ocean County Health Department has partnered with Long Beach Island Health Department, the four acute care hospitals (Community, Kimball, Ocean and Southern Ocean Medical Centers), and the two Federally Qualified Health Centers (Ocean Health Initiatives and the Center for Health Education, Medicine and Dentistry), to complete a community health assessment of Ocean County. These agencies together have formed a Health Advisory Group to oversee the community health assessment process.

Leslie Terjesen with the Health Department says, "It's vital in our area with so many people moving in all the time. Each year, the trends change. Health needs change. We need to stay ahead of the curve."

Daniel E. Regenye, OCHD Public Health Coordinator, expressed how important it is that all of these agencies work together to identify health needs within our county. Collaboration and partnerships are the future to provide effective healthcare delivery within the new Health Care Reform Act.

The mission of the Health Advisory Group will be "to serve as the force in strategic health planning for Ocean County residents by identifying and prioritizing health issues most prevalent in the county."

Once issues and plans are identified, the group will put this into an Annual Report for the county. It will be accessible on the Ocean County Health Department website.