Dr. Justus Peters, a physician with Glen Rose Medical Center, has been appointed the county’s “local hospital authority” to act as a liaison between the local medical community and the Texas Department of State Health Services.

The Somervell County Commissioners Court on Monday approved Dr. Peters for the unpaid, two-year position.

Although a local health authority is not required by the state, the state health department has been “really anxious to try to get somebody in place here,” County Judge Mike Ford said.

Dr. Peters, who writes a weekly health column for the Glen Rose Reporter, will be tasked with informing the community about state health decisions, enforcing state health laws and overseeing court-ordered testing for HIV and STDs, Ford said.

“He’s willing to volunteer his services to be our LHA,” Ford said. “He’s very impressive. He’s young and he’s got a lot of energy.”

Ford said that it would help to have a local point person to address questions when a public health issue arises.

During outbreaks of the avian flu, for example, “it would have been helpful to have a person here to get specific information from,” Ford said. “He will help disseminate public health information.

“In most cases, there’s very little he has to do unless there’s an emergency,” Ford added. “It would be very helpful in an emergency management situation.”