Erie County Board of Health Minutes (September 17, 2013)



  • James Hoddick, D.D.S.
  • Carolyn Montgomery, PhD, NP-C
  • Dennis Galluzzo, R.P.H.
  • Matthew Dunaif, D.V.M
  • Gail Polanski, RN, BSN
  • Paul Henderson, Clerk Health & Human Services Committee for
  • Lynn Marinelli, Erie County Legislator


  • Maureen Montgomery, M.D.
  • Nathaniel Webster, M.D.


  • Krista Van Wagner


  • Gale Burstein, M.D., Commissioner of Health
  • Cheryll Moore, Medical Care Administrator


  • Sean Mulligan, Councilman Rivera’s Office for Food Policy Council


Sean Mulligan said that the council is not ready to present a full

slate of membership for the Board’s approval. They have developed an application and have received a total of thirty applicants for seventeen or a little less than that, as some of the steering committee members will be staying on.  We are asking the steering committee to review the applications to choose the best candidates.  There is selection criteria involved.  They designed seat descriptions for each one so there are five seats that are appointed that are all government seats, i.e. the Dept. of Health, Dept. of Environment and Planning, from the largest municipality, from agriculture and Farmland protection board and from the Erie County Association of governments.  There are five seats that can be applied for.  There are five food system seats.  Two producers, someone from distribution and wholesale, from food waste/disposal and a food systems expert (which may entail an academic food researcher).  Seven of the seats are for consumer advocates These would include institutions based, school, correctional facilities, emergency food sector health, nutrition, dietician, and consumer advocates that represent urban, suburban or rural and anti-poverty.  There are also two youth seats (21 and younger).  One will be appointed from the youth advisory coalition. 

Once the steering committee has finalized its slate it will be presented to the        BOH.  They would like to do this before the Food Policy Summit which is an event that the Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Coalition putting on in October.  They would like to present the Food Policy Council at that event.  When the membership is finalized it will be presented to the BOH for their approval.


Dr. Burstein explained that the ECHD is planning on reopening its former clinic at the 1500 Broadway location.  In the spirit of health care reform the County will not run the operations.  We are bringing in partners that are already doing an excellent job in providing care.  Catholic Health will offer adult primary care and OB/Gyn; UB

Dental School will be operating a student run dental clinic; Lakeshore Behavioral Health is going to have an adult mental health clinic and Mid-Erie is going to provide a pediatric mental health clinic.  She said that it is being referred to as a “medical mall” because of the choice of clinics housed in one building.  Dr. Hoddick asked how big a foot print there was at the building, to which Dr. Burstein replied that it is three stories, however one is now uninhabitable.  An architect consult was done to make the building useable again.  The RFP went out, a contractor was selected, and the construction will be started soon.  Possibly the building will be re-opened sometime during the first quarter of next year.  The County owns the building, loan bonds were taken out for the construction.  It will all be paid back over the course of the ten year lease from our provider renters.  The project will be budget controlled for the County.


Dr. Hoddick brought up the minutes from the May 21, 2013 meeting.  There

were no revisions or corrections. All were in favor of approving the minutes as   written.


Dr. Burstein had handouts for the group.  She went on to say that it has been a fairly quiet West Nile Virus season.  Last year the numbers were exceptionally high.  There were twelve human cases due to the wetter season last year.  There were many positive mosquito pools that were found by surveillance. This year was drier and there were not as many positive pools as last year, as well as the year before with no human cases.  This is also reflective throughout New York State.

Dr. Hoddick asked Dr. Dunaif about the equine death from an encephalitis case in Chautauqua County.  He replied that there was a death, and that they have been vaccinating in Erie County to prevent any cases.  Dr. Burstein said that there was no positive surveillance identified in Erie County as NYS publishes a weekly report on this.  It is a mosquito borne virus that is predominantly seen in the summer. Dr. Dunaif asked Dr. Burstein how a mosquito pool positive is obtained.  She went on to say that it is a sentinel surveillance for mosquitos that is done by the Town of Amherst who shares their data with us.  The assumption is that if it occurs in Amherst it is also prevalent in other areas of the County. 


Dr. Burstein told the group that the accreditation process is very involved.  There are not many counties in the State that are accredited.  It is also very expensive; we do not have the resources at this point to accomplish this. It is at this point voluntary, in the future funding will be tied to accreditation.  We started to go through ten of the processes of getting accreditation.  We are looking at our mission and vision statement and we have scheduled leadership meetings at the Health Dept. to revise our strategic plan.  We have been able to contract through a grant with a consultant to assist us in this process.  Dr. Burstein continued that we have worked together to develop a survey of health department employees to help us assess what they think should be our priorities for our strategic plan.  Looking at what are the barriers and what are the opportunities.  We will have the survey results before the first strategic planning meeting.  We will then go from there. 

Dr. Hoddick asked Dr. Burstein if there was anything that the BOH could do to assist in this process.  She replied not at the present.  Once the meetings are held drafts of the plan will be shown to the BOH. 


Dr. Hoddick regretfully advised the BOH members of Krista Van Wagner’s      resignation from the BOH.  Rob Free of Pettibone’s Restaurant and President of the WNY Restaurant Association will take over Ms. Van Wagner’s position. 


Dennis Galluzzo told the group that he recently testified in front of the Senate Majority Coalition regarding their goal of facilitating some regulatory reform to eliminate regulations and rules that have hindered small business specifically.  There is a problem in trying to get non-specific standing order physician for Niagara County independent pharmacists.  Pharmacists must have a standing order physician in place to allow them to vaccinate for influenza, and for pneumococcal vaccine.  Mr. Galluzzo has been working with Dr. Burstein on this matter.  He brought up the county restriction which is part of the pharmacy law that states that Dr. Burstein could sign for Erie County and every adjacent county that has less than 75,000 residents.  Niagara, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus County that comes under the Pharmacist Association jurisdiction require their own practitioner to sign off.  They have been able to procure the Cattaraugus County Commissioner of Health to do that.  Any physician that resides in the County could sign the order.  Mr. Galluzzo has been discussing the issue with Dr. Burstein.

Dr. Dunaif commented that Veterinarians now have to report dispensing any controlled drugs.  They also have to report every fourteen days if they are not dispensing them.  Mr. Galluzzo also mentioned that he also has to upload data on controlled drugs on a daily basis.  The I-Stop program was discussed.  It is essentially a program that is a preventative measure to control narcotics that are on people’s shelves from access by children.  There are good nuances to the bill as well as the unforeseen consequences that are not.  In the long run it will stop new people from becoming addicted to drugs as well as stopping drug shoppers and diverters. 

Gail Polanski told the board members that she is resigning from the BOH when her tenure expires December 31, 2013.  She thanked the members for the opportunity to serve on the board, and they in turn thanked her for her service. 

The next meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 3:30 P.M.

The meeting was then adjourned.