Health board approves part-time bilingual counselor position

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

On Oct. 18, the Barry County Health Department Board of Trustees voted to hire a part-time bilingual counselor for the WIC (Women, Infant, Child) program.

The new breast feeding peer counselor will meet with clients at the Monett and Cassville offices three to four days per month. The part-time position will pay $9 per hour with no benefits.

The department has received peer counseling services grant funding that will be used to fund the new part-time position.

In new business, the board reviewed the 2011 audit report, which was completed by Kurt Krueger, of The CPA Group, P.C.

"As usually, we found everything in good order," said Krueger. "Your administrative fees are 10 percent less than last year, and your expenses are down 2 percent compared to last year. You have been able to cut expenses and maintain your services."

Krueger pointed out that service charges have increased around 3 percent. The health department's grant funds and governmental funding has decreased 17 percent compared to 2011.

"Property tax is up 2 percent, but your interest has seen a 5 percent decrease," said Krueger. "With so many municipalities tending to overspend, you have been able to save around $200,000 over the last two years. That is commendable."

Board members discussed how the surplus of funding will be used. Most of the funds will be saved in anticipation of further cuts to federal and state funding.

Roger Brock, health department administrator, reported that he and two other staff members visited the Madison County Health Department, which is now billing individual insurance companies.

"Our objective was to see both how they got set up to do this and how they implemented billing," said Brock.

The Madison County Health Department bills trucking companies when environmental staff members respond to crash clean-ups. Bills are also issued when staff members assist with fire clean-ups.

Although the information was beneficial, the local health department does not intend to begin billing for clean-ups at this time. The department does bill insurances for flu vaccinations, but does not intend to begin billing for other services, which are generally provided for individuals without insurance.

In other business, the Barry County Health Department Board of Trustees:

* Heard that Brock reviewed and signed a memorandum of understanding for the Vaccinations for Children Program, which benefits underinsured children under the age of 19, and the Child Care Health Consultation contract.

* Reviewed the service fees, which were down around 13 percent when compared to September of 2011. The department has collected $44,618.31 in service fees this year, which is 84.20 percent of the total collected in 2011.

* Heard that Brock and the public health environmental services staff members will attend environmental emergency preparedness training in Anniston, Ala., in November.

* Reviewed the service count report, which showed that 1,853 services were provided in September, and the environmental report, which showed that seven wastewater systems were permitted and 36 routine food inspections were conducted last month.

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