Services Offered by Local Health Departments
Tennessee's local health departments provide a variety of health services, both to keep you healthy, and if you are sick, to get you well. We hope you will take advantage of these services.
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Healthy children are a major priority of the health department. Well child checkups include physical exams, screening tests and immunizations. Screenings are available to assure normal development and to detect and treat many medical conditions for persons from birth to 21 years of age. The health department strongly recommends regular checkups and makes referrals for medical/dental services to be sure all children are as healthy as they can be.
Immunizations against polio, diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus (lockjaw), measles, mumps, rubella (German measles), hemophilus (meningitis), and hepatitis B are provided for children. Flu and pneumonia immunizations, tetanus-diphtheria boosters, and hepatitis B vaccines are also available to adults for lasting protection against these diseases.
In many health departments, medical staff are available for diagnosing and treating acute and chronic illnesses, and also provide diagnostic testing such as blood pressure screening and pap smears. Special health counseling is provided as needed. Local health departments participate in TennCare and other insurance programs.
Patients receive a complete physical exam and all appropriate lab tests. Patients are also taught about birth control and may be supplied with a birth control method. Many contraceptive problems can also be treated at all local health departments.
The health department provides confidential testing, treatment, and partner notification for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.
Diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up services for patients with tuberculosis, and their contacts, are provided at health departments. Medication, when needed, is also available.
A nutritionist is available to teach individuals or groups proper nutrition for everyday living. Registered dietitians counsel individuals with special dietary needs such as hypertension, diabetes and weight management.
Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
Vouchers to buy nutritious foods (cheese, milk, cereals, etc.) are issued to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and children under five years of age who are at risk of poor growth, if they meet income guidelines. Breastfeeding classes and support are available to all new mothers.
Children's Special Services (CSS)
The CSS program assists with medical treatment for children to age 21, when they have special medical needs and the family is financially unable to provide for necessary care. This program may also include speech and hearing services.
Pregnancy testing, presumptive eligibility screening for Medicaid, and referral for prenatal care are available at all local health departments. Full service prenatal care is available at some health departments.
HUG (Help Us Grow)
Home visits are made by a public health nurse to families whose infants may be at risk for medical or developmental problems. This follow-up begins during the prenatal period. Teen mothers and their infants are given highest priority.
Birth and death information is collected and sent to the State's Office of Vital Records. Copies of death certificates are issued upon request. Certified copies of birth certificates for persons born in Tennessee in 1949 or after may be requested through the health department.
A health educator is available to provide educational services to patients, schools and community groups upon request. In some areas, dental hygienists are also available to provide dental education upon request.
General Environmental Health
General Environmental Health is responsible for the inspection programs for food service establishments, hotels, motels, public swimming pools, bed and breakfast establishments, tattoo artists and tattoo establishments, body piercing establishments, correctional facilities, child care facilities, organized camps and school plants. Environmental specialists respond to and/or refer non-program related environmental complaints. In some areas of the state, the division assists in the statewide lead screening program. The division is also responsible for providing operator training in all program areas, planning and promoting the rabies vaccination clinic and investigating animal bites.
Motor Voter Program
Voter registration forms are available and assistance in completing the forms is provided at all local health departments.
The health department provides outreach services to families and individuals who may be eligible for TennCare, including providing information, assisting with the application process, education concerning proper utilization of the managed care system, assisting in obtaining referrals and prior authorization for services and assistance in locating providers.