Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

January 8, 2014

Health department centers closing at end of month

By Joe Lewis - Staff Writer
Journal-Times

Jan. 8, 2014 — The Little Sandy Health Department satellite clinics in Olive Hill and on east US 60 in Grayson will close effective Jan. 31.

The Carter County Board of Health had voted last month to indefinitely close the facilities due to budgetary issues but an exact closure date was not determined at that time.

Interim Director Paula Thornberry confirmed the Jan. 31 closure date in a telephone interview Monday afternoon.

Beginning in February, those who normally traveled to the satellite clinics for care now will have to come to the district office at the courthouse in Grayson to be served.

That includes anyone served by the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and other women’s health programs.

Physicals, vaccinations and other staple health department services also will move exclusively to the Grayson facility.

The Health Access Nurturing Development Services (HANDS) program, however, will be not be affected by the consolidation.

HANDS is a voluntary education program for new and expectant parents that is operated primarily through home visitation by health department staff.

Consolidation of the health department facilities was initially discussed last November when the Board of Health voted to close only the Olive Hill facility.

Vocal opposition from the community, coupled with questions about the legality of the meeting, prompted board members to temporarily reverse that decision.

According to health department officials, decreased utilization and severe cuts in funding on both the state and federal levels have forced the department to take drastic measures in order to remain open.

After several public working sessions, the board ultimately decided to move forward with consolidation by closing both the Olive Hill and Grayson US 60 satellite facilities

To learn more about which services are affected by the consolidation or for information about the services the department provides, contact the Little Sandy District Health Department at (606) 474-6685.

Joe Lewis can be reached at jlewis@journal-times.com or by telephone at 286-4201.