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Cass County - Program started to help residents learn about health foods

Emily Senta, Cass community health specialist, reported to the county board Tuesday she has begun initiating programs to help people learn more about simple recipes to make better use of fresh foods for meals.

Emily Senta, Cass community health specialist, reported to the county board Tuesday she has begun initiating programs to help people learn more about simple recipes to make better use of fresh foods for meals.

She is expanding upon tools available from the state health improvement program to make people who use the food shelves and the general public more aware of how to make more use of fresh meat and vegetables in their meals, she said.

Classes, cooking demonstrations and videos are all means to get the message to the public, she said.

Commissioner Neal Gaalswyk suggested making cooking classes available in community education programs.

Jamie Richter, county public health nursing director, and Jeri Seegmiller, community prevention services team leader, informed the board Tuesday about quality improvements they have undertaken in health and human and services. This is part of a further integration of the two divisions.

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They created over six months a shared public health policy and procedure manual on a shared M-drive.

To cut down time needed for the financial division to file claims and process receipts, they now scan forms and insurance cards to document immunizations the county offers at clinics.

They have processed customer surveys and found clients using county services are 93 to 100 percent highly satisfied with services they have received from the county.

Among those surveyed were people using Women, Infant and Children services; senior foot clinics; general public health; immunizations; family health/home visiting; veteran services; social services; child support; and financial assistance.

Richter said health services will target to improve outcomes for clients who are trying to get better at walking and moving around, who need help to bathe and who are trying to overcome pain. This is an area where health services would like to see better outcomes, she explained.

Cass health human and veterans services spent $12,053,741 in 2014, which is below the budget projection of $13,025,185. Because there was an accrued balance on hand in that account at the end of 2014, the county transferred $5 million from that budget to the capital building fund, which is basically a savings account toward future construction projects.

The county spent $1,785,249, or 7 percent, over budget in 2014 to place children outside their own homes. This includes emergency shelters, foster care, group homes, correctional facilities and for miscellaneous related services.

The monthly number of children in placement rose from a range averaging between 43 and 62 at a given time in 2013 to an average of 56 to 84 in 2014.

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The county board voted to increase the cost charged for public health nurse services at a clinic from $60 to $85 or half the cost of a public health nurse home visit rate. The home visit rate is unchanged this year.

Cass will divide equally among the five family centers a year-end balance on hand in the county's family center budget. Each center will receive $3,995.62.

Medica donated 80 pairs of winter gloves to county health, human and veterans services to be distributed to people in need.

Related Topics: CASS COUNTY
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