TB Clinic closing after decades of serving county

By Sarah Hawley - shawley@civitasmedia.com

POMEROY — The Meigs County Tuberculosis (TB) Clinic will close at the end of business today.

The TB Clinic has served Meigs County residents since 1952.

The closure of the clinic comes after the Meigs County Commissioners decided against placing the clinic’s funding levy on the ballot in 2016.

Commissioner Randy Smith explained to the Sentinel that the decision came after it was determined that the language of the levy was not the same as the way the funding was being utilized. This would have required the levy’s ballot language to be changed in order for it to have been placed on the ballot again.

The specific language of the levy was for treatment of patients with tuberculosis. For many years the funds had been used for educational and preventative services.

The Commissioners made the decision not to place the levy on the ballot due to the levy funds not being utilized for the specified purpose and the unwillingness of those involved to alter the language. The most recent levy expired on Dec. 31, 2015, with the funding collected through 2016.

TB Clinic staff were notified early in the process that the clinic would close fin Dec. 31 and that their positions would therefore be terminated. There were two employees of the clinic.

According to statements in the commissioner meeting on Thursday, the last active case of tuberculosis in Meigs County was in 2009.

With the TB Clinic closing Commissioner Tim Ihle said that that TB services will evolve over time to see what is needed in the county. Ihle added that testing can be done through other entities in the county and billed to the person’s insurance, but will no longer be available at the expense of the county.

The County Commissioners are responsible under Ohio law to establish a three member board to oversee monies collected to assist TB patients with treatment of the disease should they not have healthcare coverage or fiscal resources to cover expenses. The remaining tax levy funds (approximately $150,000) are to be used for treatment only.

Ohio Revised Code states, the board of county commissioners is the payor of last resort for tuberculosis treatment and shall pay for treatment only to the extent that payment is not made through third-party benefits (insurance).

The TB Board which had been in place is being dissolved, with the commissioners to appoint a new three person board.

Commissioners said anyone with thoughts comments or questions should contact the commissioner office directly.


By Sarah Hawley