State Presents Dyer County $1 Million in Safety Net Funds for New Health Department Facility

Thursday, May 18, 2006 | 07:00pm

Dyersburg, May 19, 2006Today, on behalf of Governor Phil Bredesen, Health Commissioner Kenneth S. Robinson, M.D., presented Dyer County Mayor Richard Hill $1 million in Safety Net funds to assist with the construction of a new Dyer County Health Department facility. Commissioner Robinson was joined Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) West Regional Director Tony Harden and other Dyer County and state government officials. The new Health Department location on Parr Avenue in Dyersburg is scheduled to be complete in spring 2007.

“By committing these financial resources to Dyer County, the State of Tennessee and the Tennessee General Assembly have ensured this community will now have greater access to primary care services,” said Governor Bredesen.  “Safety net investments like this are important in making sure those who need basic health services have them.  I’m pleased the State and Legislature were able to work together to provide this important investment in Dyer County.”

In May 2005, Governor Bredesen proposed $1 million in Healthcare Safety Net funding for a new facility for the Dyer County Health Department. The funding, which was approved by the Tennessee General Assembly, will assist in the addition of primary care services for local residents currently without health insurance.

“I am extremely pleased and greatly anticipate a new facility to house the Dyer County Health Department, which will allow the staff to provide additional services for the citizens of Dyer and surrounding counties,” said Dyer County Mayor Richard Hill. “This project required the diligent collaboration of numerous organizations and entities, and our citizens will be better for it.”

The new health department building will allow additional space for primary care services, as well as preventative health services. Once complete, it will include 12 examination rooms and employ approximately 25 staff members. The cost for the 11,350 square foot facility, including construction, equipment and furnishings, totals more than $1.8 million.

“Dyer County has one of the fastest growing health departments in the state of Tennessee,” said Commissioner Robinson. “Since primary services began in January of this year, the Dyer County Health Department has increased its number of new patients by 120 per month, which is 18 per day. The new facility will be better equipped to accommodate this increased patient volume.”

The Dyer County Health Department currently located at 1629 Woodlawn Extended, in Dyersburg, offers the following services: immunizations, well child/EPSDT screenings, WIC and nutrition services, birth and death certificates, children’s special services care coordination, breast and cervical cancer screening, family planning, HIV testing and counseling, sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment, and communicable disease control.  Basic medical services for uninsured adults are offered on a sliding fee scale based on income, with a $5 minimum fee for each visit.

“This new facility will help address the unmet needs in Dyer County by providing greater citizen access to primary care and preventive health services,” said West Regional Director Tony Harden. “I am especially thankful for the support of Commissioner Robinson, Mayor Hill, the county commissioners, as well as the hard work of the health department staff.”

In the fall of 2005, the Department of Health began offering new or expanded adult primary care services to uninsured residents of Tennessee in an effort to strengthen the state’s health care safety net. By December 2005, eight counties were offering the services: Anderson, Carter, Cheatham, Greene, Hawkins, Putnam, Roane and Washington. In January of this year, an additional 31 county health departments added adult primary care to their catalog of services. Eight more counties are scheduled for implementation later in 2006.

The new or expanded primary care services in ultimately 47 counties will surpass the implementation goal and quantity set forth by the Governor’s Safety Net Task Force and are a result of funding to strengthen the state’s health care safety net to assist the more than 700,000 Tennesseans who are without health insurance.

For more information about the new or existing facility or to schedule an appointment at the Dyer County Health Department, call (731) 285-7311.

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