The Meigs County Health Department has made the very tough decision to NOT APPLY for the Fiscal Year 2017, 5-Year Competitive Cycle Reproductive Health and Wellness Program (RHWP) (Family Planning) through the Ohio Department of Health. Unfortunately, the new grant requirements are not realistic for us as they have placed unfunded mandates within the grant, such as procurement of Electronic Medical Records for example, with no increase in funds to do so. They’ve also placed requirements that require much more time to be spent on the grant, but again, no additional funds with which to complete them.
Additionally, we have seen only a 61% show rate of clients over this past year’s grant cycle. Our overall program numbers are down, and even if we reach people to confirm their appointments, they don’t show come the appointment time. We, therefore, are paying a provider to be on-site for clinic when very few show up. I have researched the numbers of people reached by the grant, and the majority do have Medicaid, which means they can seek this type of care through other providers.
It used to be that grants were the “icing on the cake,” but with the changes that ODH has been mandated to make by the Federal Government, we have found that this is no longer the case. As of this past January 1st, all grants beginning January 1, 2016, and after, are 100% reimbursable, meaning the Health Department must front 100% of the funds to operate the grant, which further means we must utilize public levy funds to not only operate the day-to-day costs, but also the grants.
We have sought input about whether or not to continue this grant both internally through many hours of conversation and debate, and externally through the Meigs County Consortium and the Get Healthy Meigs! Committee, so this decision has not been made lightly. We are exploring other ways to best serve the public and the needs of Meigs County in the realm of public health.
We wanted to let you know of our decision. Thank you for your time in reading this e-mail. We welcome any feedback for services that you feel are needed in Meigs County and also welcome the prospect of any collaborative effort with each of you or your agency that will benefit our community.