Sustained forests; sustained profits

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A Health System Enterprise

Objective: To design and operate a comprehensive health management system for the people of the region and surrounding areas

This is a description of a health management system for a county or region and how it might be created. All systems are subsystems of larger systems so this is a concept of a relatively small subsystem of a total land and natural resource system. What will be described is how to create a whole thing, a way to avoid the piece-meal, partial, uncoordinated and largely unsuccessful health care efforts of the past.

One thing now well recognized is that everything is hitched up to everything else. Things done in one sector of life influence things in completely separate and apparently unrelated sectors. When such events occur, they are said to be counterintuitive or unexpected. Intuition serves people poorly in complex decision making and in living complex lives. What is attempted herein is to describe a system, a means to avoid these problems, to gain help for health questions at many levels for the people of the region. These are real needs if people can work with and gain the benefits of the natural resources of the region

Whether the system envisioned is ever created will be a function of how convincingly it can be stated and whether the risks will be taken to put it into action. Having leaders and workers will be critical to successes. I suspect no one has adequate knowledge for creating a whole health management system. What seems important to me now is that human concern; knowledge of systems; a concept of an alternative approach; a desire for a wholistic, comprehensive, highly interactive entity; and a desire for modest profits, can all be brought together in one system. I think an alternative can be shown for improving community health - one that encourages personal choice and freedom, one that offers opportunities for health cost containment, one that can demonstrate how corporate knowledge and methods can exceed those of government agencies in efficacy, cost-effectiveness, and efficiency ... by almost any criteria. The system imagined can improve the health of people so they may have opportunities to discover their full humanness. Largely related to land use, the comprehensive system can have major impacts on family life, community relations, employee relations, economic stability, welfare costs, and many other aspects of life that are far more social than ecological. It is unwise for land developers to ignore these social dimensions, especially those that can be influenced, controlled, or managed. It is one thing to recognize the genetic traits of a population about which little may be done, but quite another to recognize poor physical fitness that prevents certain resources of the entire program and land area from being fully utilized.

Throughout this document will be developed a concept of environmental quality. This can be read as an answer to "how good is the environment?" In the guidance document there are abundant discussions of improvement of the environment, restoration to quality, and provision of places of high quality. These are all highly desirable ends. However, the demands of systems thinking require another question be asked: Why? The pressure is on for the ultimate objectives. Why are these things really being done? What should all of this work and investment really do? "They should produce a high quality environment" is a good answer... but insufficient.

The real answer is to create spaces in which people may achieve their full potentials, discover their highest humanity. This will differ for each person, of course, but the concept of environment is of a total life space, a place where people can see far, drink deeply, breath freely, think quietly, smell varieties, and achieve other sensory limits. The environment can be a very small box or expansive. It is where people cannot travel far because of the limits of energy and time. It may be constrained by few books and media, harried teachers, noisy classrooms. It may be where air, water, and food are so polluted that fear is ever present, life span shortened, and hampering abnormality and its high costs to freedom are constant. Environment is people as well as things; it is seen and unseen; it is the past and expectation.

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Last revision February 25, 2001.