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September 5, 2013     Lovell Chronicle
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September 5, 2013
 

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6 ] The Lovell Chronicle ] September 5, 2013 BY KARLA POMEROY Big Horn County and the Wyoming De- partment of Health and the Public Health Nursing Division have a few months to iron out differences to keep public health opera- tional in the county. The commissioners have told the state that they will not sign a new contract, which ends with the fiscal year June 30, 2014, if the situation with the administrative assis- tants remains the same. At Tuesday's commissioner meeting, Commissioner Keith Grant said, "We're not going to have any more county employ- kin for the st " ees wor " g ate. He said the coun- ty no longer wishes to have county employ- ees who are supervised by state employees such as with public health, Women and In- fant Children program and the Cooperative Extension Service. (See related story on Extension.) There are two administrative assistants with the county public health program, one in Lovell and one in Greybull. Both are coun- ty employees supervised by state employee and nurse manager Kimberly Cowan. Cowan told the commissioners Tuesday that the Lovell position is currently vacant and they are looking to fill the vacancy but wanted the county's feedback. Chairman Jerry Ewen said, "We'll hon- or the contract that's in place and the coun- ty will support that administrative position. We have no intention of rescinding that for the remainder of the year." As for filling the vacancy and hiring the new employee, Ewen told Cowan, "You're the one who works with the employee and is responsible for their performance." Commissioner John Hyde, said, "I think you do it the way it's been done in the past. The only caveat is that at end of fiscal year that position is in jeopardy unless state de- cides to make it a state employee, which ob- viously we think it should be." The statewould have an option of fund- ing the position, when they legislatiVely only have funding for nurse positions, run- ning the public health nursing program in the county without the administrative em- ployees or if the county does not sign a con- tract, not having a public health program in the county. Cowan, Linette Johnson, state supervi- sor; and Karen Mahan, state nursing chief, said filling the vacancy with the uncertainty of the status of the position starting July 1, 2014, may be difficult. Ewen said the general consensus of the commissioners is that they would financial- ly support the position through the state but the employee would not be a county employee. Hyde added that they would support something similar to what the county con- tracts with for the nurses, 65 percent state and 35 percent county. Cowan said she spoke to Big Horn Coun- ty Clerk Lori Smallwood regarding the is- sue and Smallwood said one idea could be to have the administrative assistants under her prevue but assigned to public health. At the meeting Smallwood said, "I told Kimberly I was willing to do whatever I could to help resolve the situation. Kimber- ly comes to the office when she has questions about county policy. It would be no differ, ent for the employee to come to me. Truth- fully, would I know about the daily opera- tions? No. I'm just willing to help to alleviate concerns." Grant and Ewen said that wouldn't ad- dress their concerns. Ewen said another issue is that the county and state have different paid holi- days, but Johnson said the nurses and assis- tants all follow the county's schedule. Service plan makes things equal BY KARLA POMEROY Big Horn County Public Health Man- ager Kimberly Cowan presented a service plan to the commissioners that will begin Monday. The commissioners had asked Cowan to come up with a plan to make sure services were equal throughout the county. There is currently a vacancy at the Lovell office. if there is no one at the Lovell office. Commissioner John Hyde said he ap- preciated the work on the plan. Cowan said with the change in staffing the public health nursing program likely would not be able to administer the com- munity development block grant that pro- v/des funding to help people with medical bills, rent and utilities. Without the admin- Under the plan, the Greybull office will istrative support they likely won't be ap- have clinics on Mondays and Wednesdays t)lying for the grant again. and clinics will be held in Lovell on Tues- Cowan said the rent and utility help is days and Thursdays. This includes tuber- mainly at the north end, with the town of culosis screening, walk-in clinic and other Basin/Salvation Army receiving a grant to clinic appointments, offer help at the south end. Cowan said on scheduled clinic days, She noted in July they had 485 client the appropriate office will be open to the encounters, 275 at the Lovell office and 210 public 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Appointments will out of the Greybull office. They included be recommended to ensure clients are seen adult health visits and exams, long-term in a timely manner. Alternate appointment care eligibility assessment, maternal and times will be available if necessary, family visits, MCH health exams, class en- Clients will be able to contact the pub- counters, child immunizations, adult vac- lic health nurse office by phone, each week- c/nations, communicable disease exam/ed- day, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The new phone system ucation, tuberculosis screening and grant will automatically go to the Greybull office vouchers issued. Horn County Grant said he wondered why the coun- ty entered into an agreement with the state, noting, "the biggest thing public health does for the county is immunizations." Mahan said state statute does not mandate that they handle immunizations. It states, "To operate a public health nurs- ing program, which may include, but is not limited to, provision of immuniza- tions, evaluation of the need of individu- als for nursing home admission or servic- es and the operation of an infant public health nurse home visitation subprogram. The public health nursing program may, where and to the extent appropriate, be administered through or in conjunction with county, municipal or district health departments." Mahan said the key word is may. She said state statute only requires them to con- duct the home visits for MCH (Maternal and Child Health) home visits. She said that program can be run through other agencies rather than public health. Ewen said the Joint Labor, Health and Social Services Interim Committee, which met in Lovell last week, are looking at sev- eral options for public health. He did note that Sen. Charles Scott (SD30, Casper) has said he wouldn't mind not funding public health at all. Mahan said Scott proposed legislation last session to that effect but it did not get introduced. "I'd like to come up with models that are acceptable to a variety of counties. Rather than a legislative solution I'd like to come up with a contractual solution." Ewen said, "Our opinion here is that we're not interested in dissolving our rela- tionship with public health nursing. Public health nursing provides services to a seg- ment of our population who may not get ser- vices any other way. We are just still not sat- isfied with the way it's set up." Mahan and Ewen both said, "I hope we can work it out." Lovell Area D SCREENING New Horizons Care Center Multipurpose Room Sat., Sept. 7 and Mon,-Sat. Sept. 9-14, 2013 7 am - 10 am No appointment necessary. We encourage fasting prior to blood draw unless diabetic. drink plenty of water and take medications as usual. If you have any questions regarding the Lovell Health Fair or Blood Screening, contact Trisha Mangus at 307-548-5225. Your results will be available for you to pick up at your Health Fair Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013 at the Lovell Community Center from 9 am to noon. Proudly sponsored locally by: lorn ospital tr t 307-548-5225, www.wyominghealthfairs.com "comfort -PEDIC /series,. "Better than Billings pricing everyday!" Lovell 548-2269 Cody 527-5990 Worland 347-6548 We're Online! www.haskellfurniture.net. FREE delivery available or Barbecue TI t a 1