The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Public health tailored to rural area's needs

 

March 23, 2017



Submitted by the Wahkiakum County

Department of Health and Human Services

Washington State has 31 county health departments, three multi-county health districts and two city-county health departments, all of which are referred to as Local Health Jurisdictions (LHJ). And despite the fact that Wahkiakum County is the second smallest county in the state, we have our own autonomous LHJ. LHJs are local government agencies, not satellite offices of the state Department of Health or the State Board of Health, and they are capable of tailoring their services to needs of the local communities. LHJs carry out a wide variety of programs to promote health, help prevent disease and build healthy communities. In short, our local health department’s mission is to enhance the health and well-being of Wahkiakum County by providing effective health and human services and by fostering and implementing sound, sustained advances in the sciences underlying medicine, public health and social services.

The Wahkiakum County Health Department provides eight key services for the residents of Wahkiakum County. These include administering the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) Program, providing immunizations, tuberculosis testing, overseeing the Teen Community Health Advocate program, administering the Children with Special Health Care Needs program, as well as Family Planning services, lice checks and DNA paternity testing.

The health department is located in the basement of the County Courthouse in Cathlamet. Wahkiakum County Health and Human Services has all of their services available on a website where the services are listed and explained and points of contact are identified. The web address is http://www.healthywahkiakum.com.

The health department administers the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) Program, which is a Supplemental Nutrition Program (income based) for pregnant and breastfeeding women, infants and children up to the age of five. WIC provides nutrition education, vouchers for nutritious food, farmers market education and general education in support of the health of the mother and child. WIC clinics are scheduled for Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Cathlamet Health Department and on the first Wednesday of the month at Rosburg. Call the Health Department at (360)795-6207 for more information on WIC services.

The department also offers immunization clinics covering a wide range of vaccines and offered to all who qualify. Immunizations are available at the department, mostly on a fee for service basis but with the fees often being covered by insurance or federal grants. The department also provides immunizations on an outreach basis, which can be coordinated in advance by reaching out to the health department. Examples of these outreach immunization clinics include senior lunches, coordination with the schools, and the Living Well Event in Rosburg. People of all ages are offered influenza immunizations on a fee for service basis, which are typically covered by and billed directly to a person’s health insurance (no cost to the person receiving the immunization if they have insurance). Flu shots typically start in October and are given through the late spring when supplies are exhausted. Children are provided immunizations through the Vaccines For Children program. All required and recommended childhood immunizations (DTaP, HIB, HepA, HepB, HPV, Meningococcal, MMR, pneumococcal, polio and varicella and influenza) are provided for children 18 and under through the federal Vaccines For Children program at no cost to the child or family.

The health department provides Tuberculosis (TB) testing for those that need it for any reason (employment, inpatient treatment, self-knowledge) and to any age. The serum is injected under the skin and then read 48-72 hours later and documented. If the test is positive, appropriate measures are taken to determine if positive reaction is from latent or active TB and a treatment plan is set from there. TB testing is scheduled for Mondays and Tuesdays and then “read” 48 hours later.

The health department has implemented a “Teen Community Health Advocate Program.” This program engages teens at Wahkiakum High School who act as trusted peers for other teens and serve by directing our youth to answers and resources that they may not realize as available and cover all aspects of healthcare. They also work on projects that they designate as important to both the high school as well as the greater Wahkiakum County community.

The Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) program provides support and education for parents of children that have health care needs that may prove to be more challenging. We can help ensure parents are connected to support and care that makes things a little easier. Referrals are typically made by the child’s provider or the progress center.

 

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