By PJ Martin
When was the last time you were at the Metcalfe County Health Department? For many of us, it was probably to get immunizations back in our school days. The health department has come a long way since then, offering a plethora of services.
The health dept. in Metcalfe County is part of the Barren River District Health Department (BRDHD) and they take care of the communities’ health in various ways. The district’s slogan is ‘We CARE about your health – Collaboration, Adaptability, Reliability, Excellence.’
BRDHD serves Barren, Butler, Edmonson, Hart, Logan, Metcalfe, Simpson, and Warren Counties.
The Herald-News spoke with Registered Nurse Leeann Hennion about the various services offered. Mrs. Hennion works at the Metcalfe, Barren, and Hart County offices and has been with BRDHD for almost 19 years. She also told us that as of May 1st the Metcalfe office will have a new nurse available 5 days a week.
The health department services are divided into three sections and each has its own manager. Mrs. Hennion is in charge of the Clinical Health services part and explained each area of service.
The clinical services offer the commonly thought of immunizations for children and adults, but they also administer tuberculosis tests and will oversee home treatment for anyone found to be positive for TB.
The office can perform a lead level test for children, but most commonly this is done by a pediatrician during the child’s check-up. If a child tests positive for high lead levels the case is then referred to the health dept. and a health worker will go to the home, search out the source of the lead, and educate the parent. They then monitor the child as they recover.
The office provides multiple women’s services. For those who are pregnant, just had a baby, are breastfeeding, or have a child younger than 5 years old the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program is available to help supplement nutrition and care.
The program is income based and provides the mother with nutrition, food safety, and exercise counseling plus alcohol, tobacco, and substance counseling. The mother gets a monthly nutritious food prescription, plus they will receive guidance and referrals for health care. For mothers with infants strictly using formula, the program provides up to 9 cans of formula a month until the baby begins eating baby food at 6 months.
The WIC program consists of packages and the package is chosen according to the family’s needs. Mrs. Hennion stated, “In February there were $7,786.85 of WIC spent in Metcalfe County.” She also explained that this number does not include WIC spent in other counties. BRDHD provides WIC services to eight counties in the region and for February the total WIC funds used were $512,438.09.
Other clinical services offered include HIV, Hepatitis C, STDs, and pregnancy testing as requested.
The health educator on staff provides patients and school groups with classes on smoking cessation, good hygiene practices, and better nutrition. Classes are provided for self-management, how to reduce home risks, support, and diabetes prevention and care.
A portable dental team is available to visit schools, long-term care facilities, and abuse shelters to offer dental screenings and exams and provide common procedures.
The office provides investigation and case management for communicable diseases (TB, Covid, etc.). Plus they work with the community’s emergency management team on disaster preparedness.
The Kentucky Health Access Nurturing Development Services (HANDS) is for new or expectant parents. The program provides answers to parents’ questions, provides guidance, and educational resources along with voluntary home visits.
The health environmentalist carries out regular inspections of food service providers, but also inspects public facilities such as schools, hotels/motels, camps, public pools and spas, tattoo/piercing businesses, and tanning salons. The office offers training and certification for food management, plus inspections ensure the public is safe. If a foodborne illness outbreak (or other types of an outbreak) occurs, a regional epidemiologist investigates its source and tracks the disease in each county.
If you want to see how your favorite restaurant, school, or property rentals rates on inspection go to https://www.barrenriverhealth.org/ and select Restaurant Inspection Scores for a list that can be sorted by county.
If you have an independent water supply (well or spring) for your home or property, the health department can test that water quality for you.
They equally provide education and on-site certified inspection of sewage disposal systems and provide septic system installer training.
The office also provides rabies investigation and complaint investigation services. You can call them for assistance at 270-432-3214.
The Metcalfe County Health Department is located at 615 West Stockton Street, Edmonton, and is open on Monday 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., and Friday 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.