Wait, see on health facility expansion

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By Thomas Barr

 SHEPHERDSVILLE - The Bullitt County Public Health Department is in a position to expand its current facilities.

However, with so much uncertainty over the national health care scene, local board members are putting any expansion plans on hold.

Architect Stanley Klausing said a second floor could be added to the annex building to add another 4,300 square feet to the facility.

There is also the possibility of adding space on the ground floor at each end.

He said the annex building was built to some day accommodate the second floor, with the exception of the meeting room, which has a higher roof.

Health director Andrea Renfrow said the added space would be used for administrative offices, the billing office and a board room.

But, due to the many changes expected in 2014, Renfrow recommended waiting to see the needs of the department before moving forward with building plans.

Funds are in place for the expansion.

Her major concern is the future of federal grants, which help fund several of the agency’s programs.

If federal dollars dry up, the state funding will also diminish, said Renfrow.

In terms of the affordable health care act, Renfrow said it is still questionable the affect it might have on local health departments.

Leaned upon for clinical services over the years, she’s not sure how the focus may change if everyone eventually has their own health insurance.

She expects the health department would always be needed but the changes are in the early stages.

In other business:

*The department is looking at a vendor to convert everything to the new electronic medical records systems.

Like private physicians, the health department is looking to make the required changes.

The state is assisting to locate a vendor to perform the software services.

In an ideal situation, Renfrow said every health department would be using the same vendor.

More information will be available later in December. The hope is to have a vendor selected by Jan. 1.

*Renfrow would like the district to fill a vacant position for finance officer.

She said the person is needed to help with reports and during the budget preparation.

She said the position could be a part-time contracted situation.

The position is not in the current budget. The goal would be to decide at the February meeting in order to place the position in the 2014-15 budget.

The matter will be discussed at the next meeting.

The next meeting of the Bullitt County Board of Health will be on Tuesday, Feb. 11, at 7 p.m. at the health department annex building. The public is invited to attend.