Hamilton County Health Department releases annual report

Suwannee Democrat
By Paula Thompson

Florida Department of Health in Hamilton County’s Mark Lander presented the department’s annual report for the 2014-15 year at a Sept. 15 county commission meeting.

The Florida Department of Health in Hamilton County provides services to residents and visitors of the community in a number of programs, according to the report. The department’s mission is to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts, it was noted.

During the 2014-15 fiscal year, 51,264 services were provided by the department, which represents a six percent increase from the previous fiscal year. The services provided to the community included immunizations, pharmacy assistance drug program and Healthy Start.

Healthy Start, Public Health Preparedness and School Health are 100 percent funded by contract-secured funds or through state and federal funding passed down to the county level. The department continues to provide educational opportunities in family planning, HIV/AIDS, STDs and other programs through health fairs and presentations to local community partners.

In the fiscal year, the health department in the county has provided over $67,000 in uncompensated care to clients below the 100 percent poverty level.

Through cost saving efforts, the department has been able to effectively manage the increase in services being provided with decreased revenue streams, Lander stated in the report. The need to continually evaluate the services being provided, based on key priority community needs, will continue.

The shift to Medicaid managed care has greatly affected revenues received by the health department, the report states. Since the change in Medicaid management care occurred in 2014, the department has seen a decrease of 32 percent in revenues.

The health department, while working with local and state partners, has shared many successes with promoting health within the community, according to Lander’s report. The department partnered with the local school board and Healthy Schools LLC for a second year to provide a school based influenza program. The department partnered with the Hamilton County Strategic Healthcare Planning Committee and Well Florida Council to complete the community needs assessment which will be part of the 2016-18 Community Health Improvement Plan.

Other successes promoting health within the community include Food for Thought Series, community health walks and quarterly Adopt a Trail cleanups.

The Florida Department of Health would like to thank the county commissioners and local partners for their support in providing healthcare to the community.

“Through the collaborative efforts, the department will continue to improve upon the health status of the residents as the department focuses on becoming the healthiest state in the nation,” said Lander.

To read this article online, go to http://www.suwanneedemocrat.com/news/hamilton-county-health-department-releases-annual-report/article_87e6c7ac-62c4-11e5-9c0a-f33953b0d1c7.html.

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