Ohio Local Health Districts
An Overview of Ohio's Public Health System
The mission of public health professionals in Ohio is to promote health, prevent disease and injury and maintain and improve a healthy environment for the protection of people statewide. This is achieved by a delivery system outlined in the Ohio Revised Code.
State Department of Heath – Established by ORC Chapter 3701 consisting of a Director of Health and a Public Health Council. This section also establishes the powers and duties of each.
Local Boards of Health – Established by ORC Chapter 3709 which outlines the powers of the local Boards of Health including nuisance abatement and communicable disease control.
Local Health Districts – Established by ORC Chapter 3709, powers and duties of Boards of Health and Health Commissioners are outlined in ORC Chapter 3707.
Each health district is a separate political subdivision, similar to a school district, with an appointed Board of Health. Each district has a Health Commissioner who reports to the Board of Health. There are general health districts (county), city health districts and combined health districts (county and city). There are currently 130 districts in Ohio.
General Health District Board of Health members are appointed by a District Advisory Council made up of the president of the board of county commissioners, the chief executive of each municipal corporation not constituting a city health district and the chairman of the board of township trustees of each township in the general health district.
City Health District Board of Health members are appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the city legislative authority. The mayor is president of the board by virtue of office.
Board of Health members receive compensation for attending monthly board meetings of a predetermined amount up to $80.00. They are not reimbursed for mileage within the county. They are not eligible for PERS.
Funding – Generally, local public health funding breaks out as follows:
75% Local Funding Sources (levies, inside millage and user / permit fees)
20% State Sources (competitive grants, pass through federal monies and per capita subsidy from the Ohio Department of Health to qualified health departments)
4.3% Federal Sources / Private Sources (targeted federal grant monies, golf outings, etc.)
Ohio ranks 49th in the nation for state investment in public health according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This has led to increasing pressure on local funding sources.
Your Local Health Department – What Does It Look Like?
Health department operations are generally divided into three areas: Administration, Personal Health and Environmental Health. The number of the staff members in each area depends on the budget of the health department which typically corresponds with the size of the population it serves.
Local health departments are under the administrative direction of a Health Commissioner (HC). The HC is hired by, and answers to, the Board of Health which serves as the governing body. The HC directs the daily operations of the local health department and supervises support staff. Additional administrative personnel include vital statistics, accounting and human resources personnel. Some larger departments may also have grant writing and legal support staff. Health departments are also required by law to employ a Medical Director if the Health Commissioner is not a physician.
Personal health (nursing), programming is managed by a Director of Nursing, a position required by law. Personal Health staff may include physicians, nurses, dietitians, public health educators, dentists, nutritionists and support staff.
Environmental health programming is managed by an Environmental Health Director, a position required by law. Environmental health staff includes registered sanitarians, clerical support staff and may include plumbing inspectors.
Health departments vary in size and services. A department will typically offer various personal health services, administrative services, including vital statistic offices, and environmental services. Larger departments may also operate laboratory facilities.
Why Do We Need One?
Local health departments strive to promote health and the quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury and disability. Health Departments interact with community leaders in developing programs for their jurisdictions.
Public health goals statewide are to:
- Reduce infant mortality and improve infant health
- Reduce morbidity and mortality associated with diseases
- Reduce morbidity and mortality associated with environmental conditions
- Reduce morbidity and mortality associated with intentional / unintentional injuries
- Increase awareness and adoption of healthy behaviors
Locally, the health department works in cooperation with the Ohio Department of Health, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, and other state agencies to insure the health and safety of your community.
Local health departments work with community leaders and service providers to lead, facilitate, catalyze and collaborate on addressing community public health needs.
Examples Of Personal Health Services At Local Level
Goal: Reduce infant mortality and improve infant health
Goal: Reduce morbidity and mortality associated with diseases
WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Program
Family Health Planning
Nursing Case Finding, Consultation and Coordination of Care
Maternal and Child Health Home Visits
Help Me Grow
Goal: Increase awareness and adoption of healthy behaviors.
Adult (Flu, Tetanus, Travel, TB, etc.)
Pediatric (Polio, Mumps, Rubella, Diptheria, Pertussis, etc.)
Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs
Smoking Cessation Programs
Sexually Transmitted Disease Programs
HIV/AIDS Testing and Counseling
Communicable Disease Investigations and Follow-up
School Nursing Programs
Bureau of Children with Medical Handicaps
Primary and Acute Medical Care
Promotion of Healthy Behavior / Exercise Promotion
Workplace Safety Promotion
Teen Pregnancy Programs
Senior Citizen Programs / Fall Prevention
Tobacco Use Prevention
Examples Of Environmental Health Services At Local Level
Goal: Reduce morbidity and mortality associated with environmental conditions.
Reduce morbidity and mortality associated with incidents of intentional and unintentional injuries.
||Food service operations inspections (restaurants, vending, commissaries, mobile food vendors, volunteer organizations, etc.)
Retail food establishment inspections (grocery stores, marinas, etc.)
Public swimming pool and spa inspections
Private water system permits and inspections
Private sewage system permits and inspections
Solid waste site inspections
Lead poisoning prevention
Hazardous and infectious waste inspection program
Environmental Tobacco Smoke Regulations
Rat and vector control
Nuisance inspections (garbage and trash)
School building inspections
Housing and manufactured home park inspections
Recreational sanitation in camps, marinas
Smoke and carbon monoxide detector programs
Child passenger safety programs
Bicycle safety programs
Injury Prevention Programs
Boater Safety Awareness