Rowan Health Department offers many services to keep citizens healthy

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Editor’s note: This is part of an ongoing series by Rowan County department heads aimed at explaining what their departments do.
By Leonard Wood
Special to the Salisbury Post
The mission of the Rowan County Health Department is to provide and encourage the provision of quality public health programs that protect and promote health, prevent and control disease and reduce and rehabilitate disabilities, as well as to establish and maintain healthful lifestyles in a safe environment.
This will be accomplished by assessing local health needs, developing public health policies and assuring delivery of needed community services.
How are services provided?
Clinical services are provided by appointment; however, citizens do walk in for service requests. Many of the services provided have a fee. For clinical services, these fees are based on federal poverty guidelines and a sliding fee scale.
Some services, such as childhood immunizations, STD services and animal pickup, are provided at no charge to the citizens.
Through partnerships with the public and private sectors, the department uses local, state, federal and grant funds to support public health initiatives. The sources of funding for Health Department programs are: state, 22 percent; Medicaid, 24 percent; fees, 7 percent; grants, 5 percent; and local government, 42 percent.
Health Department Services include the following:- Family Health Services provides well and sick-care services for families with Medicaid, Health Choice and self-pay. Family Health Services is supported by federal, state and local funds. Services include physical exams for adults and children, Women’s Preventive Health annual screenings (includes breast and cervical cancer), contraceptive methods and education, tuberculosis testing and treatment, sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment, HIV testing and counseling, and communicable disease follow-up and education.
– The Smile Center for Children: Dental Health Services provides primary dental care for families with Medicaid, Health Choice and self-pay. The primary focus group is children 2-18 years old. Dental Health is funded by fees earned from billing Medicaid, Health Choice and clients (no county funds are used to support dental health except for in-kind utility and building space costs).
– Family Care Coordination: Child Service Coordination helps families with children birth to age 3 who are at risk regarding their health, growth or development, and age 3-5 with specific medical needs. Maternity Care Coordination focuses on teens and first time/high-risk pregnant women to manage medical and social needs that may affect the baby’s health.
– Health Education staff work with a variety of groups to provide services for Rowan County families: Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention, Healthy Baby Coalition of Rowan County, Health Link, Healthy Rowan!, Hispanic Coalition of Salisbury-Rowan, Rowan Partnership for Community Health, Smoke-Free Rowan and Youth-In-Action Against Tobacco Council.
– Immunization clinics provide immunizations for children at recommended ages and for adults. Although the department purchases a variety of vaccines, all of the immunizations required for children are provided by the state at no cost to eligible children. Any resident of North Carolina may receive state-supplied vaccines for which they are eligible.
– Women, Infant and Children: WIC is a nutrition program for women, infants and children that provides food vouchers to clients and provides nutrition information for families. WIC is funded by federal dollars.
– Prenatal services are provided to low-income families in Rowan. Federal poverty guidelines are used to determine eligibility, and a sliding fee scale is applied to determine how much a family pays. For qualified clients, Medicaid is the primary third-party insurance payor; county and state funds also support this service. The department contracts with local specialists to provide prenatal services to Health Department clients. Prenatal clients are responsible for delivery and hospital costs which are separate from their Health Department prenatal service costs.
– Animal Control is funded with county funds. Services include the adopt-a-pet program, investigation of animal bites and suspected rabies cases, investigation of animal cruelty cases, picking up stray dogs and cats and 24/7 on-call services for emergency animal-related citizen complaints.
– Environmental Health services are funded predominately with county funds and include inspection of food establishments, public and private schools, motels, child-care centers and public swimming pools; inspection of wells and septic systems; collection of private well water samples for bacteria, minerals and petroleum analysis; investigation of child lead poisoning; investigation of public health nuisance complaints; and evaluation of meth lab homes.
Leonard Wood is health director for Rowan County.