Board of Health

GREEN VALLEY — The great paradox to the success of the Mercer County Health Department is that its’ greatest successes are not what does happen, but what doesn’t happen.

“We aren’t just the agency which does your children’s immunizations. We’re always working behind the scenes to protect the public health and we do our jobs so well the public has no idea of all the approaches taking place regarding the health and safety of the public,” MCHD Administrator Susan Kadar said Wednesday.

The department, which has served the area for over 60 years and opened their updated facility on the grounds of the old in 2013, has three divisions: Public Clinic, Environmental Health and Public Health Nursing.

The clinic handles adult and children’s immunizations; general medical appointments; family planning; breast and cervical cancer screenings; DOT employment and sports physicals; HIV testing and counseling and drug testing. Although the facility does not handle acute cases, it provides referral services and doctor care for medical needs.

Regarding the public health, the department’s Environmental Health handles food and water quality; food service compliance; housing, schools and institutions; recreational water facilities; tattoos and body piercings; small sewage systems; drilling wells; animal bites; and clean indoor air. Health inspectors investigate restaurants, stores, and various other venues as well as conditions in trailer parks and hotels among other facilities to insure a safe standard of living as well as investigating animal bites and tracking animal contacts throughout the county. Over 600 establishments are visited every year.

Public Health Nursing deals with communicable diseases; STD investigation, follow-up and prevention; tuberculosis; public health and education; international travel; adult and child immunizations; threat preparedness and planning; and flu shot clinics, according to Kadar.

She added, “We are bound by federal codes and laws to protect the public’s health. In addition to those medical services, there’s always the possibility of major disease outbreaks and emerging new diseases.”

“We’re always behind the scenes working to protect the public health. Everything listed is what the public should know. I’ll add that you don’t stay working in public health if you don’t love it or are dedicated to it. It’s a strange fit compared to other medical services but I still love it going into my 36th year,” she said

The Health Department also conducts monthly meetings of the Board of Health. The last meeting saw the passage of the Mercer County Health Department budget for FY 2020.

Kadar said the $970,867 budget gives the MCHD an extra $331,230 to work with, including a $15,000 increase in funding from the Mercer County Commission and $36,000 more from the state.

“Everything is based on what we pulled in last year,” she said.

Kadar said the anticipated growth of the ATV/hospitality industry in Mercer County should mean a growth in MCHD funding through fees.

The budget to be submitted to the state includes a department organizational chart, a sliding fee scale and the MCHD ‘s unchanged mission statement. The budget passed on motion of Stacey Hicks with a second by Dr. Randy Maxwell.

The MCHD is located on the Bluefield-Princeton Road at 978 Blue Prince Rd and is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday; but it has someone on call 24/7 and its Facebook page is available to for questions and answers after hours. The phone number is 304-324-8367.

Contact Jeff Harvey at delimartman@yahoo.com