Harrison County Health Department

Bethany, Missouri

A note from the Administrator...

One Heck of a Year!!!

It was, to say the least, one heck of a year.  Renovations were the hot topic for all of us at the health department for 9 long months.  Where ever we went, with the dawn of each day, we and everyone else anticipated what new and exciting changes were being done at the health department.  Fortunately, we survived and couldn’t be happier and prouder of the final product and we hope the citizens of the county too, enjoy the renovated building.  It is definitely more functional and safer!  Not to mention the eviction of our little friends that enjoyed the warmth of our building for way too many years!  We feel very blessed to have our communities support this long overdue project.

Things at the health department did not stop during renovations, though at times, we did have to put a hold on services to accommodate what was happening to our building.  I felt busier than ever but it could have been the confined spaces we all were working in during construction.  We are proud of the work we accomplished this year with keeping our county immunized against vaccine preventable diseases and appreciate whole heartedly the support we receive from the medical providers in promoting the importance vaccinations are to the health of our communities. This will always be a passion of all of us working in public health.  Vaccines prevent diseases, not cause them!   We continue to provide so many other great services to the community and I am proud and amazed how each staff takes a vested interest in Preventing, Promoting and Protecting the citizens of Harrison County.  We completed a Community Health Needs Assessment in partnership with Harrison County Community Hospital.  This was a collaboration of the entire county that provided input into the health needs of the community.  Going forward, we have developed a strategic plan to address the top health needs to better address the well-being of the communities.  In addition,  we have several contracts that will require more assessments that we will be completing in the next year to give us more insight in to each individual communities needs in the areas of nutrition, physical activity and tobacco use.  We want to empower everyone to take control of their health.  These are exciting times for us at the health department as we are focused on making significant changes to supporting our citizens in leading healthier lifestyles.

Hospice is an ever growing need in our county.  It is the goal of all involved to provide comfort and dignity to those wishing to live a fulfilled life even in their final days.  We are not the only provider in Harrison County but as always, we feel that our staff continues to provide the highest quality of services, close to home!  I failed to mention that last year, after 10 years of not being surveyed by the state, we finally were surveyed.  And as to be expected, because of the quality of work all our hospice staff does day in and day out, our survey was outstanding!  For those of you who understand all the rules and regulations CMS requires, this was an incredible feat as changes occur rapidly with Medicare and Medicaid.   Rhonda Stuart, hospice nursing supervisor, was steadfast in assuring we were always up-to-date with policies and procedures.  To say she is amazing is an understatement!  Another big change this year came with the new CMS rule for healthcare providers requiring emergency preparedness to ensure adequate planning for natural and man-made disasters.  This rule added an element for exercising your emergency preparedness plan that must be completed yearly.  Although all staff at the health department and hospice are accustomed to this through our public health emergency plan, this is an additional emergency preparedness requirement for hospice to comply with each year.  We were fortunate to have our health department Emergency Planner, Lesley Schulte, take the lead with this and help us fulfill this condition. 

I get a little sad each year as I reflect back.  Probably because it means my kids are a year older or maybe more so that I am a year older.   We are a football family.  My oldest son plays for a small university in Nebraska, my youngest plays for Albany R3 and my nephew is the starting center for the University of South Dakota.  To say I am proud is an understatement about what these 3 boys can do on the field.   Unfortunately for my youngest son, he hasn’t had the blessings yet of the size of the other 2 boys.   You see, although he is not “small” by any standards, as a freshman playing varsity ball, he has had to line up against some pretty big players.  He is 5’4”, weighing in at 150 pounds.  Several games he lined up against guys a hundred pounds heavier and almost a foot taller.  I told him many days before practice and games that it is never about the size of the dog in the fight but it’s about the size of the fight in the dog.  He held his own against these “big dogs” and he has shown me that it is not always about the outcome but the journey.  He loves the game, the practices and most importantly, his teammates.  So personally, with my health, although I am not where I want to be nor where I want the county to be with health and wellness, I too, am going to just enjoy the journey and not worry so much about the outcome.  Eventually, things will work out!

Happy New Year everyone– let’s make 2018 a great one!


Courtney Cross, Administrator

Harrison County Health Department and Hospice