Scotland Health Department to submit increased budget to county

By: By Beth Lawrence - Staff reporter

LAURINBURG — The Health Department’s propsoed budget calls for eliminating one position to be replaced by other at a lower cost.

The county Board of Health heard that recommendations and others during a budget presentation this week.

Tim Martin, fiscal management director, gave the board the department’s wishlist for the next fiscal year if the department gets full funding from the county.

The department wants to be able to fund three positions that had previously been frozen, or not funded.

Martin projects a budget of $3.3 million.

Health officials want to use the funding to increase outreach and marketing for community health education, increase number patients served, increase revenues including pursuing grants and billing, start an employee wellness clinic, purchase a mobile lab unit and purchase updated lab equipment.

“This is what we took before the county manager. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to end up being approved,” Martin said. “If the commissioners look at it and says cut this cut that, this is where we’re going to go is somewhere in here.”

The county has eliminated a physician position due to an inability to work the schedule required for the Health Department by Medicaid, according to Kristen Patterson.

After that doctor was released, the department decided to freeze or no longer fund that positon which cost the county $221,000 a year.

In replacing that position, the county will add a Physician Extender II which will cost half as much to fund at $106,000 a year who will work under the supervision of Dr. Johnathan Rowson, medical director for the health department. The salary for this position had previously been frozen.

The county will also unfreeze a Health Educator II salary at a cost of $50,500 which will be paid for by the ICO4MCH grant, which is aimed at improving maternal and child health outcomes, at no cost to the county.

“We have been in conversation with the understanding that that person who’s hired understands that it’s a grant position and that funding may fun out,” Martin said.

The health department also hopes to be fund a Social Worker II at a salary of $58,000 and an Environmental Health Specialist at a cost of $51,000. Salaries for both of the positions had previously been frozen.

The department also needs a new Co2 incubator at a cost of $5,500 which is used to test cultures for gonorrhea.

“The incubator we have now is old; it has been here since 1994. We definitely need a new one,” said Nurse Tina Clark.

The health department also requested funding $30,000 for a new van with the possibility of extending it to a mobile clinic which could possibly help it extend its outreach. With the lab, nurses would be able to draw blood work for certain lab work and provide immunizations at community and corporate events.

In the 2017-18 fiscal year, the department requested $3,313,122 and was granted $2.9 million.

Of the overall budget, for the Health Department 52 percent come from the county, 26 percent from grants, 19 percent through Medicaid billing and three percent come in from fees charged for services such as Labs to Go or medical visits for residents with and without insurance.

By Beth Lawrence

Staff reporter

Reach Beth Lawrence 910-506-3169

Reach Beth Lawrence 910-506-3169