September 27, 2022

Health department shares annual report, grant funding that benefited entire county

A healthy Jasper County

Assessing the past while making goals for the future were featured parts of the Jasper County Health Department Annual Report for fiscal year 2022. Jasper County Health Department Administrator Becky Pryor presented the report to the board of health during its July meeting.

“Our mission is protecting and improving the health of Jasper County,” Pryor said.

Jasper County has a population of 37,813, as of 2022, which is the 17th largest in the state. In size, the county is the 8th largest covering 733 square miles.

“When I think about environmental health and the area they have to cover, you have to take that into consideration,” Pryor said.

When speaking with the Jasper County Healthcare Coalition, the department found the number one issue with 100 percent agreement among healthcare workers is a shortage in the field. Positions including registered nurses, certified nursing assistants, licensed practical nurses, mental health, emergency medical services and care managers ranked among the highest with reasons such as burnout, stress, pay, COVID-19 and long hours listed for the lack of numbers.

Work the health department is doing in the county includes emergency preparedness, immunizations, school and daycare audits, communicable disease, CHA/HIP, community meetings, events and projects, Safe Kids, TB program and Home Care reimbursement. To complete this work, the county budgeted $668,870 in expenses with 45 percent of those funds going to salary and benefits and 45 percent as pass-through grants. Revenue was projected at $417,023 with a cost to the county of $251,828.

The actual expenses were $637,121 with final revenue at $503,964 saving the county $133,157 from the projected cost to operate.

“This is actually really good,” Pryor said. “This is a one-time year for a lot of these grants, we won’t see a year like that, let’s hope we don’t with COVID.”

Grants the health department received included the LPHS Grant $86,948, Immunization Grant $11,000, COVID Technology Grant $183,772, Public Health Emergency Prep $70,835, COVID Response $109,056, COVID Equity $94,035, CPPC $1,120 direct, $14,560 indirect, Safe Kids $600 and IPHA $120 totaling $557,486. The funds have been used in a variety of ways in the county including in the new administration building through the COVID Technology Grant.

Looking to the next year, the department has many goals, some of which are already completed. A big one, moving into its new location, took place in mid-July, just prior to the meeting.

The JCHD will also put focus on implementing the health improvement plan for Jasper County, completing school and daycare immunization audits, expanding Safe Kids including car seat checks and community activities, re-evaluating Homemaker reimbursement, evaluate merging the immunization clinic with the WIC clinic in the same location, update the emergency preparedness plans, complete the Iowa Department of Public Health audit, learn more about population health, inventory management of PPE stockpile and equipment, re-brand with new location and train staff along with succession planning.

“Our goal is a healthy Jasper County,” Pryor said. “We’re always thinking and striving to be better.”

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or jpierson@newtondailynews.com