Health unit, OACAC partnership to offer services at lower cost

Friday, January 2, 2009

A new partnership between the Barry County Health Department and OACAC will help the local health agency provide low-cost family planning services for area residents. The partnership will also provide supplemental funding for the health department.

"This low-cost program will allow residents to receive care that they might not otherwise have access to," said Kathleen King, Barry County Health Department administrator. "Many times family planning services are the first step to learn healthy habits and ways to prevent diseases."

Although health department clients will not notice any change in the way family planning services are offered, staff members could possibly see an increase in paper work and the number of clients served, said King.

"We may see an increase in our Woman, Infant, Child (WIC) program as clients come into the health department for services, and we get a chance to educate them about other programs," said King.

The health department currently provides family planning services for around 400 women each year. Clinics are offered at each health department office once a month. The Monett office hosts its clinic on the first Wednesday of the month, and the Cassville office offers a clinic on the third Wednesday of the month.

Family planning services offered at the health department include: annual women's exams and breast examinations; contraceptives; sexually transmitted disease testing; pregnancy testing; and case management for high risk prenatal women.

The partnership between the local health department and OACAC was initiated when Diane Anthony, OACAC family planning director, contacted King about the opportunity last spring.

"This is the first time in 20 years that they have had the opportunity to expand their program," said King. "Diane wanted to know if we were interested in joining them. We are part of their service area and were not able to participate earlier because of no funding."

Lawrence, Polk, Taney, Dade, Wright, Laclede, Webster, Stone and Greene counties will also be served by OACAC's family planning program. The partnership allows local health departments to receive Title X funds and family planning supplies through the Missouri Family Health Council.

"OACAC will provide contraceptives, paper products, testing supplies and funds to help pay for our nurse practitioner," said King. "This will save nearly $17,000 that is now spent on services we provide."

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