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July 23, 2010 > Santa Clara County gains voice in health policy

Santa Clara County gains voice in health policy

Submitted By Pattie DeMellopine

Santa Clara County Supervisor Liz Kniss has been appointed to lead the National Association of Counties (NACo) Health Steering Committee and to a seat on the NACo Board of Directors. The appointments, made by NACo President Glen Whitley at the association's annual conference, are a natural step for Kniss who has served on the Health Steering Committee for several years and fulfilled leadership roles as Vice Chair of both the Public Health Subcommittee and Full Committee on Health Care Reform.

"Advocacy on behalf of local government includes working together with those who have common goals, such as our State and National Associations and our legislative representatives," Kniss stated. "The desire for healthy and safe communities is universal for counties, and we are the entity that provides the service to meet those basic needs."

Following the passage of historical federal health legislation, opportunities for counties to leverage funding and initiate or improve health care services will be one of Kniss' priorities and of the NACo Health Steering Committee.

"I don't think we need to re-invent the wheel; innovation is right here in Santa Clara County and across the country," Kniss said. "I'm looking at prevention, best practices for healthy communities, technology, and how America's counties can translate and replicate best practices that are useful at the local level."

With a preponderance of federal regulations and legislation impacting local health funding, over the past year Kniss has focused on strengthening the partnership between the federal government and Santa Clara County in face-to-face meetings with legislative representatives and key leaders in the administration.

"As a member of the NACo Board of Directors, I'll consider a variety of concerns of interest to counties that run the gamut from rural to suburban, to urban; however, my aim is California, the Bay Area, and Santa Clara County in particular," Kniss stated, summarizing her perspective on the NACo Board of Directors appointment.

These new assignments complement Kniss' current roles as Chair of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors Health and Hospital Committee and the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) Board of Directors and Chair of their Health and Human Services Committee.

"Supervisor Kniss has been a long-time champion for the health of Santa Clara County residents," said Jeffrey V. Smith, County Executive. "Her appointments as Chair of NACo's Health Steering Committee and to a seat on the NACo Board of Directors will bring innovative ideas to the national level as we prepare for healthcare reform and look for new ways to provide health services across the country."

The National Association of Counties (NACo) is the only national organization that represents county governments in the United States. Founded in 1935, and celebrating its 75th Anniversary, NACo provides essential services to the nation's 3,068 counties. NACo advances issues with a unified voice before the federal government, improves the public's understanding of county government, assists counties in finding and sharing innovative solutions through education and research and provides value-added services to save counties and taxpayers money.

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