The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Henderson County Board Of Health Aim To Re-plan The Health Department From The Ground Up

by Jacob Irish, Quill Reporter

Tom Pullen called the meeting to order at 3 p.m. June 4th to discuss the status of the Henderson County Health Department, as well as the Health Department's future with the Western Illinois Area Agency on Aging.

Angela Myers and Tom Pullen announced that the Henderson County Health Department will not be able to get funding from WIAAA through the remainder of the fiscal year (September 30, 2015). However, WIAAA will continue to provide services to the families and individuals in need until another community focal point is established in Henderson County (October 1, 2015).

However, through hours of hard work Angela Myers and several committed staff members have written and submitted the HCHD's grant application to WIAAA. If the grant is approved by WIAAA the HCHD will again administer WIAAA programs and services.

If the HCHD does get selected by WIAAA to be the Community Focal Point, the board plans to do things different this time around. "We will make a budget, and we will live within that budget," Pullen stated while speaking about the HCHD's ability to successfully administer the WIAAA programs. In order to do so, the board plans to restructure their programs and services from the ground up; while also implementing trained volunteers wherever possible. If given another chance, the board is confident that they will be able to effectively live within their means, while also serving Henderson County residents in need.

The HCHD board of directors has officially announced that they are looking for two qualified and motivated individuals to fill two positions at the HCHD. The Health Department is now accepting resumes for Public Health Administrator and Fiscal Manager. Those interested in either of the positions should contact the HCHD or send their resume to board member Tom Pullen.

Pullen and the rest of the board acknowledged that they have a great deal to learn about the inner workings of the Health Department following the recent resignations and staff reductions. The HD's board of directors has been working directly with the HCHD staff to ensure the quality and sustainability of the Health Department and the services they provide.

In order to make the learning process more lucrative, the board has decided to establish "unofficial liaison committees" with the staff in order to bring the board up to speed on the inner workings of each department within the HCHD. The Health Department has implemented five committees: Administrative, Financial, Building and Automobile, Home Support, and Home Health Care. These committees will help the board gather the knowledge they need to make the appropriate decisions for the future of the HCHD.

The board was able to make payroll at the beginning of the week. As of Thursday June 4th the Health Department has $14,593 that has recently come in from grants. The HCHD also stated that they are expecting a payment from medicare in the coming weeks amounting to about $35,000.

With overdue bills adding up to about $54,000, the financial future of the HCHD still looks gloomy, but Tom Pullen seemed confident in the HD's ability to overcome the inherited debt.

Mr. Pullen stated that getting the debt under control will not be a quick process. However, through vigilance and prioritization, the HD will be able to get their debt under control.

In an effort to keep the HCHD moving smoothly, acting administrator Erin Anderson prepared a staffing chart to effectively designate position titles and roles. The staff and board are also trying to restructure certain programs (i.e. food pantry) in order to be more efficient. The board discussed setting up specific days for the pantry as well as training volunteers to relieve staff of certain tasks.

With the help of some key staff members the board has revitalized their time and attendance policies. The policies have largely stayed the same. However, the rules will now be strictly enforced. By revisiting these standards, the staff will better understand the procedures and expectations associated with work hours, personal vacation days, sick days, etc.