Public Health and Administration Fund (Fund 015)
Dwayne Smith, Director of Public Health
The Public Health and Administration Fund is used to account for monies expended for the purposes of public and environmental health pursuant to Colorado Revised Statutes (CRS) 25-1-511(1)(2).
Mission and Background
Elbert County Public Health works to promote an inclusive community where physical and mental health, social well-being, and the environment are valued, supported, and accessible to all. Public Health Services are available to the entire community and are partly funded by tax dollars. Our initiatives focus on primary prevention, education, and awareness of prevailing health issues.
Essential services provided by our department include monitoring the health status of the county’s population and the environment, and identify community health problems; prevention and controlling the spread of communicable disease; promoting positive health behaviors and environmental practices; mobilizing community partnerships to solve identified health problems; enforcement of laws and regulations that protect the health of the public and the environment; and development of policies that support and protect the health of the community and the environment.
Accomplishments, Goals and Objectives
The Public Health Department continued to grow, expanding programs and services in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. In January we re-established the Vital Records program, which was transitioned to Tri-County Health Department in 2020 due to staffing limitations. We now offer a local option for citizens to obtain birth certificates and death certificates, thereby eliminating the need to travel to TCHD's Vital Records office in Greenwood Village
In August we hired two part-time Nurse Practitioners (1 day/week each) that have been charged with establishing clinical policies and procedures in anticipation of a resumption of clinical services in late 2022. Primary care services to be offered include annual health exams across the lifespan, health maintenance exams, well child check-ups, sports physicals for school-age athletes, treatment of minor illnesses and injuries, and more. These will be the first clinical services offered by Public Health in more than five years. Additionally, Public Health will focus on community engagement and outreach for populations insured through Medicaid and Medicare, including the ability to offer mobile health clinics and home visits where and when requested.
Concurrent with the creation of clinical services, we are establishing electronic health record (EHR) capabilities, a first for the department. An electronic health record is the systematized collection of patient and population electronically stored health information in a digital format. These records can be shared across different health care settings, including when referrals to acute or specialty care are needed. By creating a conveniently accessible, local primary care option for citizens, we aim to reduce the burden and expense associated with travel outside the county to procure basic healthcare needs.
The projected ending balance of this fund for 2022 is $609 thousand dollars.
2023 Goals & Objectives:
As we continue to rebuild Public Health to meets the needs of our growing population, in FY 2023 we will incur start-up costs for the clinic and community outreach. This includes expenses for clinical supplies, diagnostic equipment, and staff salaries. We anticipate these costs will be offset by revenue generated by reimbursement from public and private insurance for care provided. Clinical services will need to be communicated and marketed to prospective primary care consumers via print and electronic media. Clinical services will generate medical waste, and we will need to contract with a medical waste disposal company.
A significant goal for FY 2023 is to assess the capacity of our health clinic to become a designated Rural Health Clinic (RHC), and identify a timeline to achieve this designation. An RHC is a clinic that is located in a rural area designated as a shortage area (as Elbert County currently is), is not a rehabilitation agency or a facility primarily for the care and treatment of mental diseases, and meets all other requirements of Federal Health Insurance for the aged and disabled (i.e., Medicaid and Medicare as delineated under 42 CFR 405 and 491). This will necessitate demonstrating the clinic's viability and "proof of concept" in the coming year(s).
An additional goal for FY 2023 is to establish a telehealth option for residents. Telehealth is the distribution of health-related services and information via electronic information and telecommunication technologies. It allows long-distance patient and clinician contact, care, advice, reminders, education, intervention, monitoring, and remote admissions to acute care facilities. Currently, there are no telehealth options available for county residents.
The projected ending balance for 2023 is projected to be down slightly (9%) to $555 thousand dollars.