Statistics on health department programs

By Sarah Hawley -

POMEROY — As part of its 2017 annual report, the Meigs County Health Department released statistics related to programs within the health department, as well as updates on the progress of many of those programs.

Public Health Nursing

In-house immunization clinics were held 52 times in 2017 with 637 vaccines administered. A total of 198 flu shots were given between August and December 2017, with 38 administered during the county’s first-ever drive up flu shot clinic.

A total of 35 individuals received Project DAWN (Narcan) kits and were trained in how to use the kits in case of an overdose. Training was also completed with local law enforcement and first responders.

Nine adults and one child were provided with vision assistance. Five lead and hemoglobin tests were provided. Five children received blood lead investigation follow-up services. A total of 72 pregnancy tests were performed.

The health department conducted 42 head lice checks. A total of 131 walk-in blood pressure checks, seven rapid HIV tests and eight rapid hepatitis C tests were administered.

The Public Nursing Program conducted three investigations of disease outbreaks. There were 202 investigations of reportable communicable diseases and 118 follow-up investigations. The top five reportable diseases in the county in 2017 included: Hepatitis C (chronic), 86 cases; Chlamydia infection, 41 cases; Influenza-associated hospitalizations, 20 cases; Campylobacteriosis, 16 cases; a Hepatitis B (chronic), 14 cases.

Environmental Health

The Environmental Health Staff issued 91 food service licenses, conducted 251 inspections of retail food establishments and food service operations, and 24 inspections of temporary food services. A total of 69 inspections of mobile food services were conducted (21 locally licensed and 48 non-locally licensed). There were 40 food service workers trained and certified in food safety.

A total of 43 sewage installation permits were issued and 31 sewage operation permits were issued. There were 195 inspections of sewage treatment systems.

Environmental Health investigated 60 rabies/animal bite investigations, including 46 dogs, 10 cats, three bats and one rat. Ten animals were sent for rabies testing.

A rabies vaccination clinic was held in partnership with Dr. Josh Ervin of Ohio Valley Animal Clinic. Four cats and 37 dogs were vaccinated.

Additionally, the following services were provided:

  • 4 mobile home park inspections;
  • 20 Public school health and safety inspections;
  • 3 inspections of tattoo and body piercing operations;
  • 10 Public Campgrounds licensed and inspected;
  • 4 Public swimming pools licensed and inspected;
  • 4 New private water wells were permitted;
  • 16 Water samples were collected and tested for bacterial contamination;
  • 6 Indoor mold complaint investigations;
  • 6 Statements of conditions provided in landlord;tenant disputes;
  • 702 Scrap tires were recycled for the Meigs Soil and Water Litter Crew;
  • 26 Solid waste nuisance complaints were investigated (90 percent abated);
  • 5 Mosquito complaints investigated with larvicide applied.

Meigs County Cleanup Day was held in May with 30 tons of solid waste, 17 tons of scrap metal and 68 tons of scrap tires collected.

A $6,000 grant was obtained to conduct mosquito control activities from the Ohio EPA.

A total of 12 household sewage treatment systems were repaired or replaced using funds from the Ohio EPA, Water Pollution Control Loan Fund in a total amount of $73,605.

Vital Statistics

Looking at the numbers, Vital Statistics registered one home birth and 171 deaths in the county. A total of 442 registered birth certificates wee issued and 594 certified death certificates. Additionally, the vital statistics office provides genealogy assistance, has implemented an e-filing system of death certificates for the convenience of funeral directors and began accepting electronic payments and online orders for birth and death records.

One death was reviewed by the child fatality board.

Cancer Care Services

Mobile mammography clinics conducted 55 screenings with six women referred for follow-up appointments. The health department continues to serve as the location for the Ferman E. Moore American Cancer Resource Center.

The health department collaborated with the Meigs County Cancer Initiative Inc. to host the Meigs Cancer Survivor dinner in November with a focus on lung cancer awareness.

The health department and MCCI also collaborated to provide gas vouchers and food cards for cancer patients traveling to medical appointments.

Children with Medical Handicaps

The Children with Medical Handicaps program served 75 patients in 2017, up from 67 in 2016. The families served were eligible to receive additional health care that may have included medications, copays, diagnostic procedures, physician visits and equipment that may not have been able to be afforded otherwise.

The Children with Medical Handicaps program had $24,330 in billable hours, up from $18,255 in 2016.

Progress toward accreditation

The Meigs County Health Department is continuing to work toward accreditation, taking several keys steps in 2017.

The Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) was completed in partnership with the University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College and Get Healthy Meigs!. The CHIP focuses on the betterment of the health of Meigs County residents and is based on needs identified in the 2015 Community Health Assessment. The Meigs County Commissioners adopted a five year plan on July 20, 2017.

As the health department moves toward the accreditation deadline of 2020, approximately 75 percent of the necessary documentation has been collected.

ARC Power Grant — Community Health Worker

MCHD was awarded the ARC Power Grant, co-funded by Marshall University and the Sisters of Health Foundation, with the program beginning on June 5, 2017. The Power Grant is an economic development grant for coal distressed counties with a goal to create sustainable funding for Community Health Workers as members of a care-coordination team that serve high risk diabetes patients.

The program is currently assisting 10 patients.

Creating Healthy Communities

The Creating Healthy Communities grant program has a goal of preventing and reducing chronic diseases.

Several community projects were completed in 2017, including:

  • Implementing the playground at the Mechanic Street Park in Pomeroy;
  • Refurbishing Racine’s Star Mill Park by updating a few non-complaint pieces of equipment to increase safety;
  • Refurbishing Middleport’s Dave Diles Park by installing fencing to increase separation of the park from access to the street, making the park safer;
  • Purchasing a greenhouse for the Eastern Middle School gardening project to expand the growing season;
  • Implementing fresh food distribution from the Mulberry Community Center Food Pantry;
  • Refurbishing fresh water access at the Ferman Moore Park in Middleport;
  • Hosting two Yay Bikes! experimental learning rides.

Maternal and Child Health Program

The Maternal and Child Health Program (MCHP) is an organized community effort to eliminate health disparities, improve birth outcomes and improve health status of women, infants and children.

The Cribs for Kids Program provided safe sleep education and cribs for 30 families who did not have a safe crib for their new baby. Since its beginning in March 2015, more than 60 families have been served through this program. In addition to providing the cribs, referrals are provided to other maternal and child programs including WIC and Help Me Grow.

MCHP continued to partner with local school districts by providing food items and program support for weekend food backpack programs which serve approximately 400 children.

A collaboration began with one local school district to implement the CDC’s School Health Index assessment which will help develop an action plan for improving student/staff health and wellness.

Veggie U nutrition and garden projects are provided in the county schools.

Public Health Emergency Preparedness

Public Health Emergency Preparedness accomplishments in 2016-17 included passing 12 MARCS radio communication exercises, two Ohio Department of Health 24/7 after-hours exercises, and erecting the Blue-Med Tent in October 2017.

A successful drive-through flu shot clinic was conducted on October 7 at the fairgrounds.

Frank Gorscak, the health department’s emergency response coordinator, attended several trainings and conducted exercises as part of the emergency preparedness grant.

Medical Reserve Corps

The Medical Reserve Corps is a national network of volunteers, organized locally to improve the health and safety of their communities.

Accomplishments for the program in 2017 include, using 20 MRC professional volunteers at the annual Meigs County Cleanup Day and using three professional nursing volunteers from Ohio University and four regular volunteers for the drive-through flu clinic.

WIC (Women, Infants and Children)

In 2017, WIC served an average of 488 income eligible participants including: 76 pregnant women, 16 exclusively breastfeeding women, 10 partially breastfeeding women, 49 postpartum women, 19 exclusively breastfeeding infants; 13 partially breastfeeding infants; 136 other infants age 0-12 months and 199 total children ages 1 to 5 years.

By Sarah Hawley

Sarah Hawley is managing editor for The Daily Sentinel.

Sarah Hawley is managing editor for The Daily Sentinel.