Charlene Sims, Journal staff
Health department officials, commission work to set goals
By Charlene Sims, Journal staff
MOUND CITY – Linn County Health Department Director Amanda Snyder and Nurse Manager Danielle Casey met with the Linn County Commission on Monday, May 15, to update commissioners on how things were going in their new positions and to discuss goals for the health department.
Snyder said that she would like to set goals for using the COVID grants, two of which expire June 2024 and the other two in December of 2024.
She said that after she budgeted for salaries and benefits she wanted to know what the commission’s priorities are.
She said she had three big-ticket items that she thinks would benefit the community and the people the most:
• Expanding the parking lot so that the drive-through awning for COVID testing and immunization clinics could be used better. Because of the way the parking lot is set up now, it is hard for patients to use the drive-through. She said received a bid from the county asphalt foreman Tod Moeler for the materials, and it was $10,000. She said that the health department could pay the county for their time from the grant if they were billed for that.
• Finishing the back room of the building and making it into an area for classroom and group activities.
• If enough money was left, using it on a sign.
Commissioner Jason Hightower said he was in favor of expanding the parking lot and he agreed that the classroom is probably more needed than the sign.
Commissioner Jim Johnson agreed.
Another item, Snyder said they would like to budget county money for was a vehicle that was big enough to pull their health department trailers. At present, they have to rely on other departments to move their trailers. COVID grant money does not cover purchasing a vehicle.
The trailers carry the equipment they need for satellite and mobile clinics, including scales, breastfeeding/mobile stations, immunization clinics and other outreach activities. She said they would like to do mobile WIC appointments monthly in the different communities for people that don’t have transportation.
Snyder asked the commissioners what they thought short-term and long-term goals should be for the health department. She asked if there were something they were lacking or what they could do to improve.
McCullough said that he would like it if when they wrote a grant that they gave the commission a long-term outline of what that grant could do for the county.
Snyder said most of their grants they get every year and they are not a long-term lump sum.
Commission Chair Danny McCullough asked if there were any big changes.
Snyder said that previously they had advertised that people could walk in anytime for services except for women, infant and children (WIC) services and COVID vaccinations. Now, they have changed the walk-in anytime services to Wednesdays only because now that the department is down a registered nurse. Snyder said she did not want to run the risk of somebody coming in and not having a nurse there.
McCullough asked if there was anything different they would like to add at the health department.
Snyder said the health department advisory board was interested in offering a Safe Sitter program. Staff would become certified, for a minimal fee, to train young teens about how to care for children they were watching.
They would receive training in how to be safe at home and also health-related classes in CPR, the Heimlich maneuver and first aid. Teens could show that they had this training when they were applying for babysitting jobs.
Snyder said there was a fee for the training and a fee for the materials. She said the health department could even charge a fee for the training.
Snyder said she thought they needed to do more sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and sexually transmitted infections (STI) education. When you look at our statistics for Linn County, the numbers are very high compared to the state of Kansas.
She said she thought that getting into the schools and talking about that more would be very pertinent.
Snyder also told the commissioners that the department needed more senior activities, whether that be some sort of aerobics or arthritis management. Snyder said that the department does a lot for women and children, but she would really like to offer more things for men and the senior population.
Hightower said when he was thinking about goals for the program, it might include setting a goal of reaching so many seniors for aerobics or putting together classes at the local schools.
Snyder said something to keep in mind is that not every goal is obtainable immediately and make take several years to reach.
Hightower said it would help him to know what goals they were working toward and how it was working.
Snyder gave them a list of activities that they are planning this summer and talked about a mailer that would go out to every door in Linn County. COVID grant money would pay for this mailer and it would include a list of the services offered by the health department, a link to the health department website, and information about the community baby shower, health fair in June and other activities. She said at present they send information like this out in every backpack in Linn County.
Snyder had two recommendations for the health board. One was Pam Christian, whose term expired last December and she said she would stay on and Chelsea Stainbrook who is a chiropractor as the healthcare representative.
The commissioners voted to appoint Christian and Stainbrook to the advisory board.