County health board makes cuts due to reduction in caseload | News, Sports, Jobs

KeepHealthCare.ORG – County health board makes cuts due to reduction in caseload | News, Sports, Jobs

STEUBENVILLE — Due to a drop in local Women, Infants and Children caseload that is part of a statewide decline, the Jefferson County Health Department is losing some WIC money.

The health board met Tuesday and made personnel moves to reflect a 17 percent cut in the caseload. The peer helper position will be reduced to part time effective July 1. A WIC clerk position has been converted to a clerk position to handle WIC and other duties. Another nursing clerk was shifted from clerk II to clerk III and is handling vital statistics and other duties.

Administrator Annette Stewart said the county is facing a 13 percent cut in WIC funds for 2019. Funding is dependent upon caseload, she said. She said the drop in WIC caseload is happening across the state. L. Ashley Wilson, WIC director, said an improving economy statewide with a lower unemployment rate is leading to the cut in funding, along with a lower birth rate. She said her department will be conducting more outreach activities in the coming months.

WIC provides nutrition education for pregnant women, breastfeeding women and those who have miscarried during the previous six months and for children up to age 5. Women and children who are Ohio Medicaid eligible qualify for WIC, as do others who meet income guidelines.

Wilson said the Dig, Plant, Grow program that was held earlier in May at the county health department will be held for residents of the Bergholz area at the county outreach clinic from noon to 2 p.m. on June 6.

She said the county program will be working with C.H.A.N.G.E. Inc. to hold monthly breastfeeding classes in Wintersville in addition to the ongoing classes held at the health department.

The county will open the Bergholz outreach center officially June 12 and an open house will be held June 1 at the Toronto outreach center.

On another matter, Marc Maragos, county director of environmental health, said the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is asking the health department do more to monitor the Apex sanitary landfill near Amsterdam and the C&D Disposal construction and demolition landfill near Steubenville.

Maragos said scheduling will have to be arranged.

He said the Ohio EPA wants local officials to tour the Rumpke Landfill in Hamilton County north of Cincinnati to learn more about how it operates. Maragos said the idea is to let the Hamilton County Health Department and Rumpke officials give insight on how the landfill is monitored. Maragos said the question the state EPA has is whether Jefferson County Health Department has the resources to handle two large landfills.

The county has received 45 odor complaints in May and had 32 in April regarding Apex.

Dr. Frank L. Petrola, health board president and board member Dale Featheringham suggested Apex personnel needed to go on the Rumpke visit. The board voted to invite Apex officials and to request the OEPA test the creek near Apex. Featheringham said he was concerned the state EPA groundwater division isn’t testing the creek.

Maragos said there have been 13 applications for a septic system grant program of $200,000. He said homeowners who live in their house qualify for the grant that aids failing septic systems. Documentation of the systems of the applicants will be returned to the Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District for further review.

Maragos reported the state is changing health department food service inspection forms that have been in use for decades. Training for staff will take place June 12.

The nursing division reported six cases of lyme disease in May, higher than usual for this time of year.

Frank Klinger, accreditation director and programs coordinator, said a radon testing kit initiative will take place soon. The health department will take part in outreach events and homeowners will be able to apply to have testing kits sent directly to them.

The board’s next meeting will be June 26.

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