To better serve residents, all Polk County Public Health Services now will be provided by the Polk County Consolidated Human Services Agency

Effective July 1, 2019, Polk County Public Health Services will all now be based at the Polk County Health Dept. at 161 Walker St. in Columbus.

To better serve the health and wellness needs of Polk County residents, the Polk County Board of Commissioners this week approved Polk County’s Public Health Services being administered by the Polk County Consolidated Human Services Agency effective July 1, 2019. This shift in administration will result in the clinic and environmental health needs being delivered in county rather than continuing to be part of the three-county RPM Health District. Citizens should not see any interruption in the current services being provided and the County anticipates a very smooth transition.

“By moving Polk County’s Public Health Services from the RPM Health District to Polk County’s Consolidated Human Service Agency, residents now will be able to receive health and environmental services more conveniently and efficiently,” Polk County Manager Marche Pittman said. Pittman also said that “location of services, the scope of services and the fiscal considerations all played a factor in Polk County’s Public Health Services being brought back into the county.”

As a member of the RPM Health District, Polk County has allocated resources across three distinct counties with varying needs for services. Independently, Polk County has unique needs and assets available to provide similar and more regular services to its approximately 20,500 residents.

Community input also drove the need for a solution to delays and gaps in service, specifically in environmental health such as septic and other sanitation inspections.

Polk County’s public health medical services will be offered at the Polk County Health Dept. at 161 Walker St. in Columbus through a collaboration with Blue Ridge Health effective July 1, 2019.

In 2015, the Polk County Board of Commissioners chose to support a grant that brought a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) to Polk County. The following year, Blue Ridge Health – a regional FQHC that opened its doors in 1963 – began delivering healthcare in the community through the Polk Wellness Center where it continues to serve insured, uninsured and underinsured clients throughout Polk County.

Blue Ridge Health’s services consist of family medicine, including maternity and family planning services, pediatric medicine, dentistry, school-based health services, behavioral health services, pharmacy and nutrition services.

For more about this enhancement to public health services in Polk County, read the Public Health Services Report and Presentation shared at the Board of Commissioners meeting on Monday.

Polk County Local Government will continue to share updates about this transition as more details become available. Questions also can be directed to Polk County Consolidated Human Services Agency Director Joshua Kennedy by calling him at (828) 894-2114, Ext. 228 or emailing him at jkennedy@polknc.org.