March 9, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Ron H. Graham, (440) 350-2543
March 1, 2017 LAKE COUNTY GENERAL HEALTH DISTRICT
A FRESH START FOR
THE LAKE COUNTY GENERAL HEALTH DISTRICT
On Tuesday March 21st, 2017, the Lake County General Health District (Health District) will open its doors for business in its new home located at 5966 Heisley Road in Mentor. The new location represents a fresh start for the Health District after a long recovery process because of the devastating fire that occurred in late August, 2014. Despite numerous challenges, the Health District remained optimistic and continued to push past barriers and set precedents.
One such precedent that the current Health Commissioner, Ron H. Graham, has established with the support of the Board of Health is the implementation and expansion of evening hours to better address the limited access of essential public health services after 4:30 p.m. Previously, very few services were available beyond 4:30 p.m. Now, multiple services will be available every Wednesday from 8:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m., including, but not limited to, plumbing and sewage permits, food service licensing, immunizations, Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition program, Narcan distribution and education, community education classes, vital statistics, and HIV testing and prevention. Health Commissioner, Ron H. Graham, stated, “I am surprised so many public agencies do not offer extended hours and we believe that it is critical to provide non-traditional work hours to enhance the public access to the services that they help fund.” Originally planned for 2015, Health Commissioner Graham was forced to put this on hold due to staffing and financial constraints resulting from the fire.
The Health District will be hosting an Open House on Thursday, April 6th from noon until 2:30 PM at its new office to give an opportunity for the public and community partners to visit the new facility. Light refreshments will be provided as well as information on the Health District’s numerous programs and services.
Despite the multiple challenges of recovering from the fire and navigating some serious financial changes as a result in state funding reimbursement; the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) approved the Health District as the 14th accredited health department in Ohio, making it among the first 170 in the nation. Currently, there are 118 health departments in the state of Ohio. The Ohio Revised Code requires that all Public Health Departments become accredited by 2020 in order to continue to receive crucial funding from the Ohio Department of Health. The current biennial budget introduced by the governor does provide additional funding for the health departments that are currently accredited to help assist with delivering core services of public health.
The new building satisfies many challenges of the old 33 Mill Street location in Painesville, such as limited conference room space, building security issues, and a host of environmental problems, including repeated flooding. The 31,000-square foot, three-story facility provides over five conference rooms to better help meet the needs of convening task force and the committee meetings and trainings; and facilitating communication among stakeholder groups. The Health District is also looking for potential non-profit tenants that would help compliment the array of services currently provided by the Health District and increase convenience of accessing services for the public. Commissioner Graham stated, “We truly believe in cooperative and collaborative relationships among partners in an effort to better meet the missions of agencies in an environment that is currently challenging when it comes to funding and service stability.” Co-location of shared services is one option that should be explored to better serve the public efficiently and effectively.
For more information on the Lake County General Health District, please visit us at www.lcghd.org.