MACOMB — The county health department is keeping a watchful eye on the incoming CVS pharmacy.
As the health board meeting neared adjournment last week, a concern about expenses prompted a discussion on items which may have an impact on the department’s revenue as well.
Timothy Fitzgerald, board president, asked whether contracts were a significant source of revenue.
“They can be,” Administrator Lynette Cale said. “The flu (contract) is a big one. It just depends what the contracts are.”
Fees include things like food service fees and lab fees, whereas contracts include infectious diseases and other contracts, she explained.
Fitzgerald also expressed concern that the software contract was charging more than expected. Cale said that contract would be up for negotiation in May, and she will be looking at ways to do things less expensively.
She said expenses were part of the issue, but revenues were a concern too. “I don’t think we’re seeing as much revenue as we thought we would for the doctors’ offices not doing (vaccines). I’m concerned about CVS coming in. They’re probably going to add a Minute Clinic,” Cale said. “…The new pharmacists coming out of school can do vaccines. Flu is their big one, but they’ve gotten into some of the bigger vaccines.” She also alluded to other companies that do vaccines, such as the MDH Convenient Care Clinic and the Walgreens Pharmacy.
“You can’t compete with them on price?” Fitzgerald asked.
Cale said no, because large corporations are able to buy the vaccines in high volumes at a discounted price. “They (also) don’t have to follow the same reporting and things that we do,” she said.

Reports
The cash flow report covered the months of January and February, since the department last met in December. In January, the department brought in $157,257, over $100,000 of which was from the Local Health Protection Grant, and expended $70,885.
In February, the department took in $26,561 and expended $65,176. There was a $882,268 balance at the end of February, $152,819 above last year, she said.
The LHPG is a state grant issued to local health departments to provide for protection against infectious diseases, food safety, drinking water safety, and private sewage disposal.
Larger upcoming expenses include a bid limit of $30,000 for a new sign and salary for a health educator. An ad was placed this week for the health educator position.
For the last few months, the community health division has been conducting health education activities in the community at health fairs, banks, schools, Wal-Mart and elsewhere. Director Kerri Allen said the division is working with other social services in the area to better communicate and coordinate outreach activities with each other. The WIC audit went well and had no findings.
The environmental health division recently conducted a free hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) class for area food facilities, with one more set for fall. Adams said attendance at last week’s class was typical, but not as well-attended as he hopes to see in the future. “We’re still trying to figure out ways to entice and try to get more food facilities present,” he said.
An HACCP is any point in the process of food handling and preparation where a food might become contaminated or otherwise hazardous. Such points include taking a food from refrigeration and placing it on a counter to be cooked, placing cooked food on a surface for serving to the customer, and others.
The department is looking to fill a vacancy on the tuberculosis sanatorium board. Cale said she and Allen had gone to presentations on the importance of having an active TB board. “It rears its head every once in awhile…Southern Illinois (University) had a big case. There were a number of cases up in Chicagoland area,” she said.
A serious case of TB occurred locally about four years ago. Typically in a year there are a few latent cases which the department follows, according to Cale and Allen.
The Quality of Life committee is starting a drug force survey of the county’s needs related to the opioid crisis and other drugs. The National Guard will provide trained facilitators to do the survey and compile the data. “From that information we can apply for a five-year federal grant moving forward on what those specific needs are, whether it’s education, crime” or other related issues, Cale said.
Cale said a Federally Qualified Healthcare Center which had approached the county a few years ago is still interested in setting up a center even without a federal grant.
Along with the health department, the FQHC is speaking with the school district, the YMCA and other entities about the possibility of a partnership. A representative spoke with her on Tuesday and is continuing to do research on the subject, she said.
Emergency Response Coordinator Ben Thompson will be presenting on the medical reserve corp at the YMCA Outdoor Show this weekend. The department will also be presenting on environmental and community health programs.
Cale digressed from her report to comment on Thompson’s efforts in a recent search and rescue.
“I did want to kind of give Ben a little kudos,” she said. “He wasn’t really mentioned, but he was a big part in that search and rescue for the woman that was lost. Through his connections through here, and then also he is an assistant chief for the Emmet-Chalmers Fire Department, which was kind of in that vicinity. He was able to open the fire department, let them use that as their emergency operations center.”
He also reached out to search and rescue members on the medical reserve corp in Peoria and surrounding counties for help in the search, she said. “Thankfully, that had a good result.”

Reach Michelle Langhout by email at mlanghout@mcdonoughvoice.com or find her on Facebook.