Health Department reaches out
Editor’s note: This article contains information stated in literature provided by the El Dorado County Public Health Department.
Despite common misconceptions, there is more to South Lake Tahoe’s public health department than clean water issues.
The newly remodeled El Dorado County Public Health Department of South Lake Tahoe provides numerous services and programs for men, women and children of all lifestyles – and it leaves the water issues up to the county’s environmental management team.
“People think health department, they think water. They still do,” said Allyson Tabor, supervising public health nurse at the South Lake Tahoe office. “That’s not part of the health department anymore. That’s Environmental Health. It’s a whole different department, but we do work in concert.”
Environmental Health deals with hazardous materials, sewage spills, and anything else which threatens clean water or food. The health department offers clinic, lab and epidemiology services, in addition to programming.
Funded through county, state and federal monies, the department offers many programs for little or no charge to eligible patients. Highlighted programs include:
n Child Health Disability Prevention
This program’s services include: well-baby care, well-child care, school entry and sports physicals, teen-ager checkups, regular checkups and foster care checkups, pregnancy care information, transportation information and dental and doctor referrals.
CHDP exams include complete health history, head-to-toe physical exams, growth-and-development checks, nutritional information, vision and hearing tests, immunizations, tuberculosis tests, lab tests and health education.
A person between the ages of zero to 19 years old, who is not on Medi-Cal and has low to moderate income, is eligible to receive CHDP services. Those between the ages of zero and 21 who do have Medi-Cal, also qualify.
n California Children Services
Founded in 1927, California Children Services focuses on children with physically disabling conditions.
A tax-supported program, CCS provides specialized medical care and rehabilitation, including: diagnostic evaluations for children under 21 years of age, medical and surgical care, pharmaceuticals, physical and occupational therapy, lab tests, X-rays, appliances, equipment, case management, referrals to specialists, transferring medical records, locating new facilities and services when families move and helping families cope with their child’s condition. It provides follow-up checks with schools, public health nurses and social workers.
To be eligible, a child must be under 21, a resident of California and have a handicapping medical condition. State adjusted gross family income must be less than $40,000 per year.
“This thing pays for a tremendous amount of services,” Tabor said. “We work in concert with schools a lot on this.”
n Family Planning Access Care and Treatment
Anyone capable of becoming pregnant or impregnating someone is eligible to receive PACT services.
Sponsored by the California Department of Health Services, PACT provides birth control pills, diaphragms, cervical caps, male and female condoms, Norplant, birth control shots, spermicides, IUDs and natural family planning.
Services are totally confidential and deal with prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, male and female sterilization and birth control methods.
“Teens can come in and access family planning on their own,” Tabor said. “They don’t have to be an adult to access those services. It’s confidential and it’s for male and female patients.”
Program screening and testing includes: pregnancy testing and counseling, Hepatitis B testing and immunizations, HIV testing and counseling, pap smears and cervical cancer screening.
n Preventative Health Care for the Aging
California residents who are 55 and older are eligible for a free health examination which includes completing a personal health history, measuring height, weight and blood pressure and reviewing eating habits and nutritional needs.
After completing a health assessment, patients may speak to a nurse about developing a personal health plan.
Funded through local and state public health agencies, PHCA is designed to increase awareness of the preventative health needs of seniors.
n Breast Cancer Early Detection Program
Women over 40 who meet income eligibility requirements are provided a Clinical Breast Examination. Mammograms are available at no charge for all women over 50 years old and women ages 40 to 49 who have breast symptoms, a first degree family history of breast cancer, or have had breast cancer before, and those whose CBE results are abnormal.
n Health Care Program for Children in Foster Care
Public health nurses, funded through HCPCFC, work with caseworkers and probation officers to ensure foster children receive all needed health care services.
Nurses provide health care oversight of physical, behavioral, dental and developmental needs for all children in foster care, including out-of-county and out-of-state placements. They work with welfare and probation staffs to provide training programs for health, child welfare, probation and teen court staff.
For information on El Dorado County’s public health programs, call (530) 573-3155 or stop by to pick up free pamphlets.
All services are available by appointment only. The health department accepts Medi-Cal and offers state-funded program services at low cost, determined by a sliding scale fee. Eligible patients may receive services at no cost.
The El Dorado County Public Health Department of South Lake Tahoe is hosting an open house Friday from 1 to 4 p.m. at 1360 Johnson Blvd., suite 103.
Health department officials look forward to introducing the community to their new staff and recent remodel.
For information, call (530) 573-3155.
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