I encourage everyone to read Thomas G. Bartol’s Jan. 17 Maine Compass: “Our health care system needs to stop being an illness care system.”

He made several very good points, the most important of which, I believe, is: “The solution is to spend more efficiently, first by focusing on prevention.”

Healthy Maine Partnerships (HMP) across the state do just that. They focus their time, energy and resources on health promotion and disease prevention. They facilitate work-site smoking cessation programs, healthy school lunch programs, walking trails to encourage weight loss. Local HMP’s do exactly what Bartol advises: “Spend time helping people to make lifestyle changes that will decrease their burden on the health care system.”

Importantly, he points out that, “Our current health care system is really an illness care system. Most of the money spent is to treat illnesses, not prevent them.”

Our voices are needed now.

We need to encourage our lawmakers to fund agencies such the Healthy Maine Partnerships that advocate achieving and maintaining health. By supporting prevention efforts, Maine will be able to reduce the rising health care costs of treating preventable diseases such as diabetes, obesity, heart and lung disease.

We need to tell our legislators we want our state dollars to be spent on empowering people of all ages to get healthy, stay healthy and not rely on the Department of Health and Human Services.

For more information, go to www.healthymainepartnershps.org

Rebecca West Dick

Augusta