Town of Brewster, Massachusetts
Section II - Human Services: 5101 Health
The Health Department has a staff of three full time employees: Health Director, Assistant Health Director, and Senior Department Assistant with an elected Board of Health comprised of five members.
The Health Department, along with the Board of Health, are responsible for administering and enforcing federal, state, and local regulations for disease prevention and control, and public health and environmental protection. The Department is tasked with, including but not limited to, routine permitting and inspections of food service, lodging, pools, barns, septic systems, drinking wells, bathing beaches, communicable diseases, tobacco control, burials, housing, hazardous materials, local emergency planning, and water quality. It is the mission of the Health Department to promote the public health and welfare of our residents and visitors through the protection of Brewster’s environmental resources and by striving for better public health standards within our community.
Accomplishments for FY2022
- Health Department staff, since the onset of COVID, continued to act as the primary resource and the conduit for disseminating information about the pandemic. Staff continued to interpret new mandates and guidance released by state and federal resources at a moment’s notice for every discipline of the community.
- Staff adjusted to modified work schedules to ensure the safety of staff and customers and continued to provide customers with services via remote online or phone communication during our regular 5-day work week. The reduction of in-person interactions minimized the level of COVID related exposures and kept staff cases at a significantly reduced level associated with the work environment.
- The Health Director and Assistant Health Director conducted inspections throughout the year for food, septic, housing, pools, camps, tobacco, barns, and public swimming beaches to ensure code compliance and to foster a cooperative and informative relationship with Brewster’s permitted establishments and residential neighbors.
- Health Department staff actively participated on numerous committees including Brewster Local Emergency Planning Committee, Cape & Islands Health Agents Coalition, Cape Cod Rabies Task Force, Cape Cod Hoarding Task Force, and Brewster Staff Review to provide expertise and guidance within the public health realm.
- Health Department staff actively participated with several local private entities and Town/County Departments to monitor and collaborate on improving the water quality of Brewster’s ponds and watersheds, specifically nitrogen and phosphorus loading, and cyanobacterial algal blooms.
- Health Department staff and the Brewster Board of Health updated and approved our local Tobacco Regulations to discourage the illegal use of tobacco and nicotine related products by under-aged children.
- Health Department staff, in conjunction with Cape Cod Healthcare, sponsored our annual flu clinic at Our Lady of the Cape Church, Brewster with a record turnout of 236 participants.
- Health Department staff, in conjunction with the Council on Aging, Fire Department, Outer Cape Health Services, Whole Health Pharmacy, Brewster Senior Housing Authority, Visiting Nurses Association, and the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment sponsored several Homebound COVID First Series vaccination clinics, and COVID Booster clinics.
- The Board of Health and Health Department staff reviewed and discussed the Town WQPD Zoning Bylaw changes approved at the November 15, 2021 Town Meeting. The Board of Health is currently reviewing a Board of Health Nitrogen Loading Regulation for impending approval in early 2022 to coincide with the recent Bylaw changes.
Goals & Initiatives for FY2023
- Health Department staff will continue to foster and expand the relationships developed with various public and private entities (schools, businesses, healthcare practices, social service agencies) during the pandemic to accommodate the needs of populations not previously identified. (Select Board Strategic Plan G-4).
- Health Department staff will investigate the use of Innovative/Alternative Technology in Environmentally Sensitive Areas to address Brewster’s share of water quality issues in Pleasant Bay and Brewster freshwater ponds and lakes. Additionally, staff will actively participate in town wide discussions and public forums to educate residents about ongoing water quality planning and implementation. (Select Board Strategic Plan WR-1).
- Health Department staff continue to develop the new online permitting program Viewpoint for electronic applications, processing, and issuance of department licenses and permits. (Select Board Strategic Plan LE-1).
- Health Department staff, in conjunction with related Department Town staff (Fire, Police, Council on Aging, Building, and Housing), will form an Ad-Hoc Housing/Code Violation Committee to address the rise more effectively in rental/housing/hoarding/code violations on private properties in Town. (Select Board Strategic Plan G-7).
- Health Department staff will continue to pursue educational training opportunities to maintain mandatory continuing educational credits (CEUs) for current professional certifications (Registered Sanitarian, Certified Health Officer, Title 5 Soil Evaluator, Title 5 System Inspector, Emergency Planning ICS series).
- The budget represents a $23,658 (9.06%) increase over the FY22 budget.
- An increase of $3,000 is provided to accommodate approximately 75 hours of overtime for the Assistant Health Director.
- An increase of $1,100 is provided for water quality testing and to purchase a yearly subscription to an online registration program for our annual flu clinic.
- The Health Department is proposing a Part-time Public Health Nurse position in the amount of $14,615.00 to work directly with Health Department staff and the general public. $7,300 of this will be funded by a decrease in the VNA contracted services from $30,000 to $23,700; the remaining $7,315 will be funded with ARPA funds. This would be a 8 hour a week position at $35.00 an hour.