Mt Pleasant News

Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 20, 2018

Public Health officially department under the county

New offices downtown open Monday
Jul 06, 2018
Photo by: Grace King The new Public Health offices have new equipment in the immunization clinic, which will have extended hours beginning in August. They will be open Tuesdays from 9 to 11 a.m.; Wednesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 4 p.m. and the first and third Thursday of the month from 1 to 6 p.m.

By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News


Henry County Public Health reopens Monday, July 9 in a new location at 106 N. Jackson St. in Suite 101 as a county department. Additionally, as the new fiscal year begins Public Health and Healthy Henry County Communities met their deadline, spending all $285,000 of the first year of HRSA grant money by June 30.

The department has been closed this past week as they transition from one building to another and receive new Henry County email addresses and phone numbers.

As the new fiscal year rolled over on July 1, Public Health officially ended their 30-year contract with Henry County Health Center because it was no longer financially viable for the hospital and became a department under Henry County.

While the transition — like any move — has been stressful for Public Health employees over the past week, they are already settling down into their new digs and looking forward to the advantages being downtown will offer.

Previously, Public Health was located on HCHC’s campus at 407 S. White Street.

Already, Public Health has had several patients stop by, noticing the new sign despite Public Health not yet being reopened, Public Health nurse Lori Bolin said.

While Public Health Coordinator Shelley Van Dorin is only slightly worried about losing patients because of the change in location, she pointed out the benefits of being just down the road from the Fellowship Cup and food pantry.

The move has been a whirlwind of activity in the past few months. Until March, it was thought Public Health would remain at HCHC for the next two years. But Van Dorin is now glad all the transitions could happen at one time, with Healthy Henry County Communities (HHCC) Coordinator Kelly Carr now falling under the Public Health umbrella as well. The Board of Health and the HHCC board will remain separate.

HHCC met their fiscal year-end goal of spending all $285,000 of the first year of HRSA grant money they received last year. The first third of the grant had to be spent by June 30 because the fiscal agent for HRSA, which was HCHC, had to be switched to the county. The grant is $1 million over three years to bring awareness to existing services and create new opportunities for healthy living in Henry County.

HHCC was struggling to spend the final estimated $50,000 to $60,000 of the grant over the last 30 days, but found beneficial ways to use the money that will set them up for success in the future.

Much of the funds were spent on advertising: three billboards in the county; ads in the Mt. Pleasant News and on KILJ; and TVs which will be placed at HCHC, Iowa Wesleyan University, Public Health, Family Medicine, Diabetes Education, Henry County Extension Office and the Mt. Pleasant Middle School and high school. These TVs will include slides promoting the health services already offered in Henry County as well as promoting new initiatives through the HRSA Action Team.

Stop the Bleed kits will be provided to all Henry County schools. Emergency Services will work with schools in the future to train people in how to use the kits.

The grant money from the 2017-2018 fiscal year also paid for a two-year contract with SEIBUS for free medical transportation and supported RSVP for their medical transportation.

“We still have two years of funding, so we’re excited to build this program,” Carr said, adding that while the first year was a slow start, HHCC now has a good foundation to move forward and implement more healthy initiatives in the county.

“It’s going to be great for the community,” Van Dorin added.

Public Health will have new immunization clinic hours beginning Aug. 1. They will be open Tuesdays from 9 to 11 a.m.; Wednesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 4 p.m. and the first and third Thursday of the month from 1 to 6 p.m.

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