Thursday, November 8th, 2012
By Shelley Grieshop
Agencies urged to merge
  The Mercer County health department is the latest agency to feel the state's push for shared services.
Dale Palmer, administrator for the Mercer County-Celina City Health Department, told board members Wednesday that state legislators want all health departments serving populations under 100,000 to consolidate to save money.
"If we don't do it, it's going to happen to us anyway," he said, explaining the state likely will mandate the issue down the road. "We may as well be proactive."
Palmer said a meeting to discuss the issue is set for Nov. 14 with the Fab Four - health departments in Mercer, Auglaize, Van Wert and Allen counties - which for years have informally shared expenses, employees, grants and other services.
Palmer told the board that Allen County on its own would meet the 100,000-plus population standard set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to avoid consolidation.
"Mercer, Auglaize and Van Wert together would fit the model they're looking for," he said.
The state's focus to help health departments cut costs is paramount in Mercer County. In March, local residents voted against a 0.6-mill countywide property tax levy that would have provided needed funds to the department for operating costs in lieu of ongoing government funding cuts.
The state's shared services plan for health departments is being devised by the Legislative Committee on Public Health Futures. The committee on Oct. 31 completed its final report on the issue and made recommendations for inclusion in the state's 2014-2015 operating budget bill.
"Cross-jurisdictional shared services and consolidation are potential strategies for improving efficiency and quality," the committee stated in their recent report.
The Ohio Revised Code recently was amended to allow contiguous and noncontiguous city and county health districts to "contract/consolidate/merge" together within a reasonable geographic distance.
Several government agencies in Mercer and Auglaize counties already are sharing services and employees with neighboring counties such as the Ohio State University Extension Office.
Additional online stories for this date
Print edition only stories for this date
• Health department needs additional manpower
• Meiring Poultry Farm approved for permits
• Public input sought on St. Marys cold case
• Zoning board approves construction of Circle K
• Staff to see cost increase for health insurance
• Gov't Mule entertains with musical mix
• Wildcats, Flyers ready for postseason clash
• Redskins ready for high-octane Bulldogs
• Grand Lake Football Primer
a_d
Friday Night
49°
Mostly Cloudy
13%
Saturday
67°
Mostly Cloudy
14%
Saturday Night
43°
Mostly Clear
Sunday
63°
Mostly Sunny
Sunday Night
48°
Mostly Clear
6%
Monday
76°
Partly Sunny
14%
Monday Night
61°
Partly Cloudy
13%
Tuesday
72°
Mostly Cloudy
69%
Tuesday Night
44°
Rain Showers
75%
Wednesday
56°
Mostly Cloudy
10%
Wednesday Night
39°
Partly Cloudy
6%
3 Day
Extended
a_da_d
camera_logo Photo Albums
Thursday, October 23
index pict
Thursday, October 23
index pict
video_logoOnline Video
Thursday, October 2
index pict
Accident at 127 and 119
Monday, September 29
index pict
Grand Lake Marathon