Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sex ed, birth control fights could bring area patients to county

By DYLAN LYSEN, Herald Staff Writer | 5/16/2014

The Franklin County Health Department might see an influx of patients from the region, Midge Ransom said, because surrounding county health departments have chosen to stop offering family planning services.

Ransom, county health department director, explained during Wednesday’s Franklin County Board of Commissioners meeting that the family planning services at issue include sex education and birth control. The Miami County Health Department no longer will provide the services because of ideological differences stated by the Miami County Commission, Ransom said, while other counties have experienced budget cuts that have forced them to limit services.

The Franklin County Health Department might see an influx of patients from the region, Midge Ransom said, because surrounding county health departments have chosen to stop offering family planning services.

Ransom, county health department director, explained during Wednesday’s Franklin County Board of Commissioners meeting that the family planning services at issue include sex education and birth control. The Miami County Health Department no longer will provide the services because of ideological differences stated by the Miami County Commission, Ransom said, while other counties have experienced budget cuts that have forced them to limit services.

The department potentially could receive more grant money because of the increase in patients, but Ransom said she would not know how much revenues would increase — if at all — until a later date.

The department has the option to turn down service to non-county residents, Ransom said, but would not recommend turning patients away. Steve Harris, board chairman, and Colton Waymire, board member, said they do not want the department to turn away anyone in need.

“If you’re coming over here to get services, you probably have some ties to the community,” Waymire said. “So ultimately the family planning benefit will be ours.”

Harris agreed with Waymire and said he didn’t want to turn away patients when they are in need.

“We want to provide services to the folks in our county for sure, but I’d hate to see us refuse services to anyone that is in need,” Harris said.

The board then approved the health department’s report and approved write-offs of $21,665.75. Lisa Johnson, county administrator, said the department used 25 percent of its budget for the quarter, which was expected.

The board also approved two proclamations. Sheriff Jeff Richards read the proclamation for Peace Officers’ Memorial day on May 15 and Sheriff/Police Week in Franklin County from May 11-17. In the proclamation, Richards said the week is used to recognize law enforcement officers who gave their lives in the line of duty. He mentioned the local law enforcement memorial service Monday that honored the late Sam Smith, Franklin County Sheriff’s deputy, and the late Capt. Robert C. Cowdin, with the Ottawa Police Department, who died in the line of duty in 2010 and 1963, respectively.

The board then approved a proclamation that declared May 18-24 as Emergency Medical Services Week. Nick Robbins, Franklin County Emergency Medical Services director, read the proclamation and said Franklin County EMS would be organizing activities that week to educate residents on heart attacks and strokes.

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