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Old 12-13-2017, 01:28 PM
Newton Daily News Newton Daily News is offline
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Default Supervisors meet with IDPH county consultant

The board of supervisors hosted Iowa Department of Public Health Community Health Consultant Heather Bombei on Tuesday to continue learning about public health. Bombei is the regional consultant for Jasper County.

“Public health touches everything,” Bombei said. “From our water to the milk, to when we flush our toilets and our kids getting shots.”

Public health is a partnership of local public health agencies, local boards of health and the IDPH, nonprofit organizations, health care providers, policymakers, businesses and many others working together to promote and protect the health of Iowans, Bombei said. It strives to improve the quality of life for all citizens by ensuring access to quality health services and has been credited with adding 25 years to the life expectancy of people in the United States.

At a more local level, public health is overseen by the Jasper County Board of Health which is comprised of five members serving three-year terms. Of the five members, one is required to be a licensed physician.

With a board seat opening up at the end of the year, the board has inquired to the supervisors about having one of them join and take the fifth seat. Bombei said she has a lot of counties that have a supervisor of the board of health and there is a lot of good that can come from that collaboration.

“I tell my counties, ‘out of sight, out of mind, out of money,’” Bombei said. “I’m sure that you guys get a lot more chatter in your ears about roads than anybody talking about immunization audits. Unless there is somebody there that can hear the day to day work that the public health agency is doing, it is difficult to understand and even comprehend all of the different lives they are touching.”

The role and responsibility of the board of health is to support the vision and mission of public health, communicate with the community, develop policy based on community input, assure compliance with legal responsibilities, support accountable and quality practices and oversee the core function and essential services of public health in the county.

“It is honorable and an underappreciated thing in the public,” Bombei said. “Most people probably don’t understand all of the time public servants put in. The board of health members are voluntary, they don’t get compensated in any way.”

Bombei also touched on the funding source of public health. Depending on the county and its accreditation, funds can come from federal and state grants, foundations, Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance and from country tax dollars. Currently, Jasper County gets about $90,000 per year in state funds.

“This is very helpful and it can guide us in the future,” supervisor Joe Brock said.

This was the third effort of the board of supervisors to gain additional knowledge on public health. Prior to this meeting, supervisors Brock and Doug Cupples made visits to the public health departments in Marion and Poweshiek counties.

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or

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