Environmental health, emergency preparedness among HD services


By Sarah Hawley - shawley@civitasmedia.com



Editor’s Note: This article is part three of a three part series on the Meigs County Health Department’s annual report. Today, we look at several of the programs and services offered through the health department. The first article in the series on June 9 provided an overview of the department’s milestones and achievements, as well as the steps taken toward accreditation, with the June 13 article detailing some of the programs and services available.

POMEROY — In addition to the nursing, WIC and other programs and services covered in a previous Sentinel article, the Meigs County Health Department provides services to those battling cancer and environmental health services, including food license inspections.

Cancer services

The mobile mammography clinics, which is a collaborative effort with the health department, Meigs County Cancer Initiative Inc. (MCCI), OSU and the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine Mobile Breast and Cervical Cancer screening unit completed 50 mammography screenings, with three requiring follow up testing.

Additionally, the health department is the host location for the Ferman E. Moore American Cancer Society Cancer Resource Center.

Health department administrator Courtney Midkiff was recognized by the American Cancer Society for her years of service.

The health department collaborated with MCCI to distribute gas vouchers and food cards to cancer patients in the county traveling for appointments and collaborated with OSU for the “I VACCINATE” project to increase HPV/cancer prevention vaccines.

Received financial support for the MCHD’s “Hope” Breast Cancer Awareness t-shirt campaign from: Birchfield Funeral Home, The Fabric Shop, TNT Pitstop and Service Center, Montgomery Trailer Sales, Morningstar Farm, Front Paige Outfitters, A-1 Sanitation, Superior Auto Body, G&W Plastics, Baum Lumber, Rutland Bottle Gas, H.D. Brown DDS, Inc., West Shade Barber.

Environmental Health

Environmental Health activities in 2016 included,

  • 52 Sewage permits issued
  • 129 Septic inspections
  • 57 Rabies/Animal Bite investigations (40 dogs, 14 cats, 1 Bat) (2 tested)
  • 4 Mobile home park inspections
  • 20 Public school health and safety inspections
  • 2 Inspections of tattoo and body piercing operations (approved a new tattoo shop in Pomeroy)
  • 10 Public campgrounds licensed and inspected
  • 4 Public swimming pools licensed and inspected
  • 6 New private water wells were permitted
  • 18 Water samples collected and tested for bacterial contamination
  • 7 Indoor mold complaint investigations, including seven statements of conditions provided in landlord/tenant disputes
  • 500 Scrap tires recycled for the Meigs Soil and Water Litter Crew
  • 30-plus Solid waste nuisance complaints investigated 90 percent abated
  • 20 Inspections completed of solid waste disposal facilities — active and closed
  • 24 Garbage trucks registered/inspected
  • 3 Infectious waste large generators inspected
  • 30 Bedbug consultations, 5 public presentations about bedbugs, 4 investigations/inspections

During the 2016 spring cleanup day, held as a collaborative effort with the Ohio EPA, Meigs Soil and Water and the Meigs County Commissioners, recycling totals included 37.27 tons of solid waste; 17.31 tons of scrap metal/electronics; 30.34 tons of tires.

A total of 89 food service licenses were issued, with 382 food safety inspections conducted. Of the 382 inspections, 275 were retail food establishments and food service operations, 31 temporary food services (one-time events), 74 mobile food services; two vending locations.

In addition, 85 participants were trained and certified in level one and level two food safety certification program.

Creating Healthy Communities

Creating Healthy Communities (CHC) Grant Program is committed to preventing and reducing chronic disease statewide. Through cross-sector collaboration, we are activating communities to improve access to and affordability of healthy food, increase opportunities for physical activity, and assure tobacco-free living where Ohioans live, work and play. By implementing sustainable evidence-based strategies, CHC is creating a culture of health.

Marshall University’s Center for Rural Health with the support of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation’s, Together-On-Diabetes program contracted with 10 Diabetes Coalitions including the Meigs County Health Department to implement effective local solutions to the widespread problem of diabetes. The final year of funding for MCHD was 2016.

Community projects in 2016 included,

  • Began assessment for the Meigs County Active Transportation Plan.
  • Assisted with the installation of the Middleport Splash Park.
  • Expanded the basketball court in Pomeroy.
  • Attended the Eastern Food Fair.
  • Trained 10 Gentle Yoga Leaders.
  • Initiated a Breastfeeding Space at Meigs High School.
  • Installed a water fountain at Dave Diles Park in Middleport.
  • Implemented a Tobacco Free Campus Policy at the Meigs Multi-Propose Building.
  • Assisted the Meigs County Farmer’s Market with accepting WIC vouchers.
  • Installed backstop and outfield fencing at the Angela Eason Memorial Fields near Chester.
  • Expanded the Tuppers Plains Fire Department Playground.
  • Refurbished the Mulberry Community Center Playground in Pomeroy.
  • Expanded the Book a Bike Program to the Racine Public Library and added new feature at the Middleport and Pomeroy Public Libraries.
  • Presented at the Appalachian Diabetes Control and Translation Conference in Gatlinburg, Tenn.

Public Health Emergency Preparedness

Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) Grant is a federal grant administered through the Ohio Department of Health to coordinate and better prepare various County agencies in the event of bio-terrorism or other public health emergencies.

Program highlights for the past year include,

  • Allocated $65,689 for the general PHEP grant.
  • Maintained 1 full salary and 1 partial salary.
  • Designed, developed and presented a new website: www.meigs-health.com.
  • Used Point of Dispensing Plan (POD Plan) to carry out 5 outreach flu vaccination clinics at the major local banks and businesses in the County. We successfully utilized the Meigs Medical Reserve Corps Volunteers (MRC) for this.
  • Used PIO skills frequently through the use of Facebook and Twitter accounts to alert County partners and citizens of happenings in the health department.
  • Developed a Zika Plan and received (from ODH) 12 cans of Mosquito repellant for use in prevention.
  • Designed and carried out Functional Exercises (FE) with the Meigs Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) on Hazardous Materials and Zika.
  • Carried out a Functional Exercise (FE) with the Ohio Hospital Association (OHA), Southeast Central Ohio Public Health (SCOPHC) as a Coalition to test our public health skills in dealing with Ebola.
  • Participated as a member of the Meigs County Healthcare Coalition (MCHC).
  • Accepted a volunteer position as the Meigs County Emergency Response Coordinator.
  • Received or provided trainings in: Zika Preparedness; Active Shooter (with MCHD/MCCoA/Woodland Center employees), Bloodborne Pathogens Training for county employees
  • Appointed as the MCHD Workforce Development Coordinator

Vital Statistics

The vital statistics program registered 240 deaths in the county in 2016, up from 197 in 2015. Of those, 62 were related to heart disease, 43 to cancer and seven to drug overdoses. Three home births were recorded.

The vital statistics office brought in a total revenue of $31,621, with $14,476.50 through the Meigs County Health Department and $17,144.50 from the State of Ohio.

A total of 1,233 certified copies were issued, 768 death (675 in 2015) and 465 birth (468 in 2015). Burial permits increased to 201, up from 183 in 2015.

The child fatality board reviewed 11 deaths involving children birth to age 17.

By Sarah Hawley

shawley@civitasmedia.com