Everything You Need to Know About Bear River Health Department

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The Bear River Health Department has provided public health services to the citizens of Cache Valley for 100 years. They are committed to protecting public health, promoting individual well-being through disease prevention, emergency preparedness and response services, licensing of health care facilities and providers, inspections of food service establishments, promotion of safe food handling practices, and environmental health services. Their programs strive to maintain high standards of public health in hopes that everyone lives a long and healthy life.

In this article we will see the some interesting things and facts about the bear river health department. This information will amaze you.

1 – Staff Members

The Bear River Health Department has a full-time staff of 14, two administrators and twelve health inspectors.

2 – Only Agency in Cache County

The Bear River Health Department is the ONLY agency in Cache County that performs Environmental Heath Services. These services include: inspections for safe food handling practices, licenses of food establishments, swimming pools, water parks, spas, tattoo parlors, massage parlors, adult entertainment stores, child care facilities and hospitals.

3 – Time Schedule

The Bear River Health Department’s Public Health Laboratory operates daily from 7 am to 4 pm Monday through Friday.  This laboratory provides clinical testing on blood specimens for sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS and HIV status.. They also provide a variety of other public health related testing such as communicable disease surveillance which screens for tuberculosis, food borne disease surveillance (Shigella, Salmonella and E. coli), water quality testing for public drinking water systems, water sport activities, body piercing site inspections, child care center evaluations based on the national health standards, pre-employment physicals, post accident drug screenings. Plans are underway to offer additional testing in the near future.

4 – Relationship with Law Enforcement Agencies

The Bear River Health Department has a strong working relationship with local law enforcement agencies who investigate crimes involving sexual assault of children, assaults leading to injury or death, women assaulted by their intimate partner s, elder/dependent adult abuse cases where there is an allegation that preventable injuries have occurred in the home setting.

5 – Major Goals and Responsibilities

The main responsibility of the Agency Director at BRHD is to set goals for the department and meet with the Board of Health, City Council, community groups, business groups and agencies to promote public health.  Every State law that is passed by the Legislature must be reviewed throughly by the Director of BRHD.

6 – Annual Budget

The Bear River Health Department has an annual budget of over 1.7 million dollars.

7 – Huge Number of Service Providers

There are more than five thousand food service providers under their license in Cache County. Employees of these facilities are required to work approximately 36 hours per year of training on safety equipment use, proper hand washing procedures, safe food handling practices, child care facility safety procedures, bloodborne pathogen awareness, CPR classes and first aid training. Many more hours are spent observing potential employees at their job sites to insure they meet high standards of food service safety and practice.

8 – Monthly Performance

The Public Health Laboratory performs over one thousand and five hundred (1,500) specimens per month for various public health related tests.

9 – Enrollment in Bureau of Medical Services

The Annual budget for the Bear River Health Department has remained basically flat since 2009.  They have not had a pay raise since 2008! Yet their enrollment in the Bureau of Medical Services has increased by nearly 20%.

10 – NACCHO Award

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) presented their highest award to our local agency in 2011 for outstanding performance advancing community health. This is the first Utah County health department to receive this prestigious national award.

11 – Amazing Health Care History

The Bear River Health Department has a long history of providing high quality health care. In fact, they were organized before Cache County was even created as a separate county from the original Wasatch County in 1856.  The first building that housed the agency was on South State Street just west of 300 East and across from the current location of Forest Dale Elementary School. In those days it was called the “Homeopathic Hospital”. It consisted of a small doctor’s office plus three hospital beds for patients who needed additional care. Their main purpose was treating pioneer women suffering from childbirth fever. Later it became a tuberculosis sanatorium run by Dr. George Sylvester Humphry after he moved to Utah from New York City where he had established the first American school of Homeopathy in 1848.

12 – Elder Than Cache County

The Bear River Health Department was organized before Cache County was even created as a separate county from the original Wasatch County in 1856.

13 – Clear in Audit

There is no evidence that any local health department in Utah has ever been audited by the Federal government.  Until recently all audits were performed by State of Utah auditors.

14 – New Directional Manager

Under the direction of their new General Manager, they have established a new internal audit function at BRHD which will allow for greater accountability and transparency.  They are also hiring an independent outside auditor to perform an annual financial audit.   These two changes should answer many questions regarding our community’s public health system, including how it is managed and how it is funded.

15 – Controversies

There has been controversy over the past few years about many aspects of Bear River Health Department public health system including the need for a new facility, proper management of services, internal leadership, transparency in meetings, audits, use of federal funds to pay local bills, etc.

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