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City should continue with separate health department

I am writing to you concerning the Ironton City Health Department.  My name is Linda Thomas.  I was a pediatric nurse practitioner and worked for the health department for 20 years.

I was very proud of my job and gave my all to the citizens of Ironton and a lot of county residents also.  No one was turned away.  I often spent a lot of time trying to find them services if we could not provide what they needed.

By the State of Ohio, the city is to maintain health services for its residents.  It is a separate entity and is not supposed to be self-sufficient.  They can turn no one away because of lack of payment for a service.  Medicare, Medicaid and insurance can be billed.  Many services are provided, but unseen by some.  Providing diapers, formula and obtaining food for the hungry are only a few.  Working with the City Mission and other agencies is a large part of providing services to those in need.

At this time, the Lawrence County Health Department is also not accredited.  Both departments are working towards accreditation.  The county health department works mostly by grants and a health levy.  If both departments would join as one, the city would have only minimal representation and very little say for major issues.

You would have to pay the county health department to cover the health services for the city residents and probably receive less service.  Unless you had an iron-clad agreement as to the amount you pay to them, each year the amount could raise.  I’m asking you to consider maintaining the City Health Department for the residents of Ironton.  They deserve what is best to provide these services.

I don’t feel all the services provided by the health department, as they are many and are unseen, are understood.  The health department has always seemed unrewarded by those in charge.  I think not understanding what services are provided is the issue.

Health services or helping those in need in your community is probably just as important as some of your other services.

Linda Thomas
Coal Grove