December 30, 2006
The Jasper County Health Department Being Shut Down?
The Health Department is in
trouble. Some details emerged at the 10/2/06
BOC meeting when district representatives from Macon gave
a presentation to the Commissioners. Facts, figures, problems,
and questions were presented; the word CRISIS
was used. (See details of that presentation at end of this
tell TWG that as of today, there is one person working at
the Health Department—Environmentalist David Mercer. There
is no longer a nurse, an LPN, a clerk, no one!
How many people
use the Health Department? What is the purpose of their
visit? The Health Department provides flu shots, blood pressure
checks, birth control and family planning, vaccines for
children, TB patient oversight. The Health Department provides
services for elderly, poor, and any one else. Many years
ago everyone took their babies and children to the Health
Department to receive their shots. Most elderly people receive
their flu shots from the Health Department.
Where will these
people go for help, treatment, checks, etc.? What will it
cost our county in the long run not to have a viable Health
Department and its services? Why aren’t the same people
that are concerned about the hospital, concerned about our
Why hasn’t this
crisis been reported? What are our officials doing about
it? TWG has been at every meeting since October and nothing
has been discussed or done (at least not in public). Are
all services going to be referred to the hospital or the
emergency room? This is where people will most likely end
up going—even though their needs are not “emergencies.”
Holmes (706-468-6085) is the Chair of the Board of Health
that oversees the Health Department. BOC Chair Jack Bernard
(706-468-5101) also sits on the Board of Health. Contact
these two people to find out what is going on, what the
plans are for the Health Department, and what people who
use and need the Health Department are supposed to do when
they arrive and no one is there.
See notes below
from BOC meeting where Health Department presented Commissioners
Department presentation 10/2/06 (notes from meeting)
1. Jasper County Health Department
Nancy Mason from District. Last Board of Health meeting
was discussed. Financial
situation at crisis state. Current balance
$17,800. That’s all funds Health Department has available.
$18,300 payroll monthly. Ability
to keep doors open is questioned. We released
current office manager; books now run out of Macon office.
Released nurse practicioner. Release LPN contract. Release
Melba Bridges contract.
Christie (another rep) —Medicaid—3 diff CMO’s for Jasper
Co. Billed over $3000 for June and July; rec’d $200. This
affects all Health Department’s. Child health, WIC, family
planning. We’ve been cut at
State program and no additional funds from County.
Nancy—I understand that budget has already been set.
Comm. Bernard—still developing budget for 2007. How much
have reserves gone down?
Nancy--$29,000. Comm. Bernard—I recommended that 2nd Env
Health person (Melba Bridges) not be budgeted.
Comm. Pennamon—this is first
time I’ve heard that they (Health Department) are in trouble.
Why hasn’t health board brought to BOC attention?
Comm. Bernard—the books weren’t done by staff correctly.
(Note: Question wasn’t answered)
Nancy—when I came in at end of quarter, when monies were
moved I realized that there was a $3000 deficit in one of
the accts. Auditors in last week—had concerns, very sloppy
Comm. Bernard--I’m on board of health and I was only one
that suggested the fees be raised. Now with budget situation
the Board of Health has voted to raise fees unanimously.
Comm. Yarbrough-- asked about fees.
Comm. Bernard-- has said we are up to 600% below surrounding
Comm. Yarbrough-- asked Nancy if had asked City for money.
Comm. Pennamon-- if we went through normal process of budget
adoption, we can’t help out if millage rate is already set
without budget. Makes us in situation we can’t control.
Comm. Yarbrough-all we do is bail out. What’s being done?
Nancy—Macon will do and monitor books. Also looking at fees;
but must stay in Medicaid rates.
Comm. Yarbrough—why retire and hire back? Just that salary
probably is your deficit.
Nancy—will currently look at current staff and fees. State
is holding funds. Can’t get further funding from State.
Comm. Yarbrough –look at City for money.
Comm. Bernard—the Mayor is
chairman of Board of Health.
Comm. Bernard—“Health dept minutes have not been accurate
for the entire last year. After a while you get tired of
it.” Request $80,000+ this year= $25,000 more than last
Comm. Pennamon—imperative that BOC review budget requests!
By not having opportunity to ask questions, it doesn’t help
us. (Note:Comm. Pennamon was one of the Commissioners
that didn’t want to go through budget line by line to see
what was really being budgeted, for who, for what, how much,
lasted 25 minutes.
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