County health board addresses finances

Washington County’s Board of Health continued to deal with financial issues facing the county health department and Southeastern Ohio Dental Clinic during the board’s regular monthly meeting Tuesday.

Board president Richard Daniell said some recommended changes at the dental clinic would help keep that facility operational.

“Representatives from the clinic met with (interim county health commissioner) Dick Wittberg on Feb. 1, and developed a list of items that should improve revenue by $60,000, to offset the loss of $59,000 this year,” he said.

A traditional $59,000 state grant was not awarded the dental clinic this year, due to cuts in federal funding to the state health department.

Among the dental clinic changes approved by the health board Tuesday were the reduction of paid lunch for staff from one hour to a half-hour, and charging a $25 rescheduling fee to clients who don’t show up for an appointment without first giving 24-hours notice.

“This is a great step forward to give the dental clinic staff what they need to get on a better financial footing,” Daniell said.

Also on Tuesday, Daniell announced the health department budget is currently just $2,800 short of the amount needed to make the Feb. 22 payroll. That’s an improvement over last month when Daniell had to ask the Washington County Commissioners for advance funding in order to meet the first payroll of the year.

The total monthly payroll is about $64,000 for the 19 employees of the health department and dental clinic.

Environmental health director and interim health administrator Ken Robinson recommended another way for the board to increase health department revenue would be a plumbing consultation fee.

He said business owners may consult with the health department’s commercial plumbing inspector, Bryson Wakely, about what they need to comply with the county’s commercial plumbing requirements.

“We already have a $50 fee in place for sewer consultation, and there should be a fee in place for commercial plumbing consultations,” Robinson said.

The board members agreed and approved the charging of a $50 commercial plumbing consultation fee, effective immediately.

In other business Tuesday, the health department’s only full-time registered nurse, Cindy Hintz, announced that after Feb. 15 she could no longer continue to assume the additional duties of director of nursing at the department, due to stress issues affecting her health.

But Hintz will be able to continue her regular nursing duties at the health department.

Also during Tuesday’s meeting, the health board went into executive session to begin considering applications for the positions of part-time health commissioner, full-time health administrator and full-time director of nursing.

The board accepted resumes for those jobs through Feb. 7.