SEK Multi County Health Department’s DeeDee Martin, chief nursing officer, and Sara Frederick, chief financial officer, look at their mission of serving residents of Allen and three adjoining counties in a proactive manner.
That has resulted in them initiating programs, expanding what has been in place and looking ahead to when they can do even more to make local folks healthier.
The Allen County office, 221 S. Jefferson Ave., where Martin and Frederick are stationed along with Clerk Ruby Gulick and Vicki Howard, Healthy Start Home visitor, is the flagship for Allen, Bourbon, Woodson and Anderson counties.
Last October, planning and meetings began for a community health assessment to identify what is preventing residents from receiving appropriate health care.
“We’re working to overcome those obstacles,” such things as lack of insurance, cost, proximity to where care is dispensed and services offered, Martin said.
The health department isn’t going about the survey in lone-wolf fashion.
“We’re working with the Southeast Kansas Mental Health Department, the (Allen County) hospital, Allen Community College and Thrive Allen County.
“When we find holes in the health care system, we try to patch them,” Martin added.
Martin and Frederick also are making efforts to attract news services, such as through grants with which they would deal with licensing of child care providers and WIC (women, infants and children) services, now provided in Allen and Bourbon counties by the Crawford County office.
Child care licensing is watched over by offices in other counties.
If a grant from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment comes Allen County’s way, it would provide funding for the local staff to help with applications for child care providers, maintain a list of licensed child care providers and make available nutrition and policy education for licensed providers.
WIC, funded by the federal government, is a special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children. The program provides supplemental foods, health care referrals and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding ad non-breastfeeding postpartum women, as well as infants and children up to age five who are at nutritional risk.
FOR THE GENERAL population, the health center now offers blood testing, although at this time it is unable to bill private insurance or Medicaid for those services. Cash, debit card, check and credit card payments are accepted.
For example, hemoglobin A1C tests for diabetics are done for $22. The test is for diabetics and gives a long-term overview of blood sugar levels while a finger-pricking test is a momentary analysis, Martin said.
Comprehensive blood panels, done for $20, provide information on things that affect liver and kidneys, as well as sugar and proteins levels in the blood. Other tests report cholesterol numbers, pituitary function and readings that relate to menopause and infertility.
For years the center has offered many other services.
Family planning covers much, including Pap smears. Martin noted that the American College of Gynecologist has altered time frames for Pap smears. “Now, they recommend none before age 21” and unless there appears there might be a problem, one every three years instead of every year, she said. Other opportunities, all at a cost of $45, are breast examinations, lab work, blood pressure screening and, if desired, birth control prescriptions.
Kan Be Healthy screenings are for Medicaid-eligible children up to age 18. They receive full physicals, hearing and vision tests and lab work. Also, a new part of that program is fluoride varnish for children’s teeth to guard against decay.
Healthy Start Home Visitor provides in-home visits for pregnant women and parents of newborns. During visits a worker gives parents resources and referrals for various assistance programs for which they may be eligible.
Immunizations are given every Monday from 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. at the Iola office.
Adult physicals are provided by a registered nurse for employment purposes, as well as for foster care and adoptions. Children’s physicals, including hearing and vision, are done for school, daycare, Headstart or preschool applications. Physicals required for athletic participation are not done.
Physicals are done by appointment.
For services where insurance applies, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Medicaid, and KANCARE — Sunflower, Amerigroup and United Healthcare — are accepted. Medicare also pays for some services.
THE IOLA office is open 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and is closed on Fridays.
The office telephone number is 620-365-2191.