In their first meeting under the year’s new leadership, Kent County commissioners accepted four grants totaling $145,851 that were awarded to the Health Department.
One came from the National Association of County and City Health Officials. The department will use the grant, worth $22,700, to fund its national accreditation application. Administrative Health Officer Cathy Raevsky said only about 130 departments have been accredited nationwide.
“We intend to send in our application in January. This will enable us to be accredited,” she said. “This will give us a step up.”
The department also received $103,195 in grants from the Michigan Department of Community Health, with the biggest share, $38,572, going to the Women, Infants and Children Program. Another $28,918 will go to the HIV Expanded Testing Program, and $25,705 will go to the Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program.
Deputy Administrative Health Officer Bill Anstey said the caseload for the BCCCP has risen by 265 clients. Raevsky said if the department’s screenings results in positive findings, the department sends clients to a qualified provider for treatment.
The remaining $10,000 in the MDCH funding will allow the health department to consider billing private insurers for services the department currently only charges to Medicare and Medicaid. Adding private insurers could create more traffic for the department’s services.
“They would get a reimbursement back from the carrier,” said Anstey of clients with private insurance.
Commissioners also agreed to accept $10,000 in funding from Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine. The funds allow the health department to take part in a research study that hopes to improve the prenatal care currently offered to pregnant women insured by Medicaid.
The final accepted grant is worth $9,956. It comes from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. The department will use those dollars to reduce the number of homeless animals through a spaying and neutering program.
Prior to accepting the grants, commissioners unanimously chose Dan Koorndyk as board chairman for this year and Jim Saalfeld as vice chairman. The board also welcomed Nate Vriesman, Joel Freeman and David Bulkowski as new commissioners. Vriesman and Freeman are Republicans, while Bulkowski is a Democrat. Republicans outnumber Democrats on the 19-member commission by a 15-4 margin.