Struggling health department asking for more staff

first_img Ector County Health Department Director Gino Solla looks over a report in his office.  Virgin Coco MojitoTexas Fried ChickenSmoked Bacon Wrapped French Vidalia OnionPowered By 10 Sec Mama’s Deviled Eggs NextStay Local NewsGovernment Struggling health department asking for more staff By admin – May 20, 2018 WhatsApp Twitter Previous articleGEEK: Touchpad sensitivity an ongoing problemNext articleCOMMUNITY CALENDAR: Week of May 20, 2018 admin RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Facebook Church leaders condemn mayor’s disparaging comments Home Local News Government Struggling health department asking for more staff Twitter Pinterest Ector County Health Department Director Gino Solla. Pinterest Facebook Ector County Health Department Director Gino Solla talks to a visitor in his office.  1 of 3 Ector County Health Department Director Gino Solla looks over a report in his office.  Ector County Health DepartmentOne day last month, Ector County residents seeking preventative care arrived to the county’s Health Department Building to see a sign on the front door: “Clinic closed today.”The clinic at 221 N. Texas Ave. couldn’t open that day, Health Department Director Gino Solla said, due to the department’s only two nurses both being out. Solla said this is the first time in his 15-year tenure as director he has had to close the clinic for an entire day.“I don’t have the license of a nurse that I can grab a syringe and start giving vaccines,” Solla said. “When the nurses are not here, close down the clinic. We’re out of business.”Closures are a recurring problem for the department, often having to close their clinic several hours early due to the lack of staff, and with the amount of people that come to the Health Department’s clinic; the wait can be quite long for those who do come for care. Landgraf staffer resigns following investigation WhatsApp The small staff of the department is the result of several years of budget cuts by county commissioners in a struggling local economy. In 2015, the health department had a budget of $1,695,725. Over a period of two budget cycles, that number was cut down to $1,351,242, around a quarter of their budget.With those budget cuts came staff cuts, Solla had to cut four full-time positions, bringing the department staff down from 15 to 11, including himself. That included two of their full-time nurses, leaving only two left.The primary function of the Health Department is to prevent and contain the outbreak of communicable diseases. Unlike the Ector County Hospital District, which treats people once they become ill, the health department tries to prevent the illness in the first place. Those who come to their clinic are there for vaccine shots, STD screenings, or tuberculosis testing. The clinic is particularly important to those who are struggling financially.“We are the safety net for people that don’t have health insurance or a means to pay,” Solla said. “If someone comes in and says ‘I don’t have the financial resources,’ we waive our fees.”But if budget cuts to the department continue, Solla is worried those functions may not be possible.“I don’t see where we can cut anymore without cutting services,” Solla said. “The commissioners will have to decide if they want to continue to provide clinical services from the Health Department.”And some staff members have been quitting out of frustration with the limited budget, Solla said. A long-term sanitarian, who handles duties such as restaurant and pool inspections, left abruptly around three weeks ago, and the office manager will be leaving the department soon after 26 years of working there.“They’re tired of not being able to give the citizens their services,” he said. “We’re giving them lip service instead of services.”With discussions for the next budget year beginning Tuesday, Solla said he has some proposals for expanding the department he plans to bring forward to the commissioners’ court. He plans to ask the court for another sanitarian position, a part-time secretary, and two more full-time nurses.Solla said he’s hoping that due to the recent increase in oil prices and land value, there will be more revenue available to prevent any further budget cuts.County Judge Ron Eckert said it is too premature at this point to say exactly what will be done to the department budgets, but that options will be explored throughout the numerous budget hearings. Eckert said they have not received any final certified values, but based upon preliminary values, there should be an increase in tax dollars and revenue, but not considerably more.“We haven’t reached the full extent of the boom cycle yet, and there’s catch-up time for values to catch up with the economy,” Eckert said.With the decrease in staff, came an increase in communicable diseases. Health Department records show that from 2011 to 2017, patients seen for sexually transmitted diseases increased from 866 to 1,328. The number of Ector County residents with sexually transmitted infections increased from 558 per 10,000 people in 2012 to 726.3 per 10,000 people in 2017.And with the staff cuts, Solla said they had to turn away around double that amount of patients. Solla attributed this increase in patients to the closure of Planned Parenthood in Odessa in 2011, which provided STD testing and contraceptives.“I believe the Texas legislators made a big mistake when they cut funding to Planned Parenthood,” Solla said, “because Planned Parenthood was our savior in collaborating with us in fulfilling that need.”Solla said he hoped Ector County residents would pass the sales tax assistance district whenever it next comes up for election, which would create a new 1.25 percent sales tax on goods sold in unincorporated Ector County. Officials estimate it would raise around $15 million a year, more than a quarter of the county’s $59 million expenditure budget.“I feel that will help us not only expand, but help us catch up to the growth that the county is experiencing in new residents,” Solla said. Landgraf prepares for state budget debate last_img read more

Extend the holiday spirit throughout the year with a data-driven customer experience

first_img 4SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Andrew Stevens Andrew Stevens is Global Banking and Financial Services Principal for Quadient, a leader in helping businesses transform their customer experience by creating meaningful connections through digital and physical channels. With … Web: www.quadient.com Details It’s the season for sending holiday messages to those you care about. Even though you may not hear from them often through the rest of the year, it’s good to know they haven’t forgotten you and that you’re still an important part of their family and community. While this is a personal activity, the same thing can be applied to a business and its customers. You share a relationship that requires continued nurturing and while many businesses, including credit unions, may show special customer appreciation during year’s end, this is a concept that can pay dividends year round. Try this simple exercise to give you an indication if your customers know how much you care:Rank yourself from 1-100 on how much you care about your members. Now rank your colleagues and your credit union as a whole on the same scale, how much your staff and employees care about your members.Finally, rank how much you think your customers know that you care about them.My guess is the first two numbers are high, the last one maybe not so much. Caring internally isn’t enough—it is always important to show members that you care. Credit unions are noted for providing a more personal experience than most other financial institutions—and it’s vital that your members know this isn’t accidental, that you put considerable effort into making their experience with your institution a positive one. Utilizing all data at your disposal is one way to hone a stronger relationship with your members, showing that you not only care, but that you can provide what they need based on who they are. However, too often, data silos collected piecemeal and stored in various systems throughout the organization get in the way of understanding customer preferences, tailoring communications, responding quickly and, ultimately, optimizing the customer experience (CX). Just like the content of your personal holiday cards, your communications with members should be personalized to demonstrate that you understand and care about their needs.    Making a list and checking it twiceMeaningful communications can be difficult if you don’t have clean records. Gartner research shows that 40% of all business initiatives fail due to poor data quality. To begin enriching your data quality, start by profiling the data; categorizing your data assets and determining their quality. This creates awareness of the bigger data problems within the organization and gets you organized for the next step.Next, cleanse the data to resolve issues you’ve identified and standardize it to meet your business needs. Do that with each source, and then consolidate the data, matching and merging like entities to create a single view of your members. Data may be further enriched by leveraging additional sources. Append data attributes with sources like a directory of national changes of address to improve delivery effectiveness. Or screen members against sanction lists, to ensure data meets regulatory standards. In an ideal data management situation, this should be integrated into the single customer view technology solution you have adopted, rather than tacked on as an after-thought through the use of additional software. Enriching data will not only help provide a better customer experience, it will also help with compliance and/or reduce risk.Reaping the gift of a better customer experienceEach touchpoint on the customer journey is an opportunity to improve the customer experience, or damage it, so the places where customer data is being used needs to be identified, and standards established to ensure a positive outcome. Measure all the data against those standards to determine quality. For example, if you want to send an email communication, you need valid email addresses. What percentage of emails for the target audience is either missing, invalid or undeliverable? The same can be done with phone numbers to which texts are sent, or social media handles.When you improve data you also reduce waste and the poor customer experience associated with duplicate data. Physical mail is an expense, so you want to avoid sending multiple pieces to the same member because their name is spelled three different ways in three different databases. Receiving more than one piece of the same thing is automatically perceived as junk mail. Essentially, your goal is to create a data platform that allows you to analyze and monitor the quality of the data assets that are driving the customer journey and, ultimately, the customer experience. Find technology solutions that will allow you to create a connection between the data and its impact on your goals to build organizational awareness of any problems.‘Tis the season for quantifiable benefitsAs you go through the process of cleansing and standardizing data, you are establishing the way that you want new, incoming data to conform to your single member view. Combining the data from all available sources enables you to deliver a personalized customer experience at any time of the year. As you incorporate your silos of data, it’s important to track the metrics. How many duplicates have been removed, how many cleansing issues have been resolved? How much time have you saved?Pulling the pieces together into a 360-degree view is the precursor to effective member communications. It allows you to fully leverage data as a strategic business asset, to use this high-quality data within your member experience ecosystem. With a 360-degree view of your member, they become fully-realized individuals. For example, a member named John Smith might now also be identified as the head of household, aged between 35 and 40 with a household income of $75 to $100K and a new baby in the house. He follows your credit union on Facebook and recently made an online purchase. This consolidated, standardized data now provides a single member view that can be used by other systems in your organization as well, which will definitely put your organization on the nice list.Members of your credit union are not going to take any more time than they have to when opening accounts or getting approval on transactions if they find another CU can do it in real time. For example, opening a savings account should be a simple operation. If one CU can’t check your data against sanction lists, or perform a credit check automatically, another one can. And it’s the latter that will win the battle for that new member. Having a solid data management solution in place is critical to reducing the time it takes to do manual work, because, as the saying goes, time is money.To be able to deliver a truly personalized experience for your members, you must be able to capture and leverage customer data from online and offline channels. This involves developing a data management strategy that builds a single view of your members, the foundation for data-driven marketing. Relevant personalized communications delivered in a timely manner can work wonders to improve your members’ view of the relationship they have with your organization—and paying such close attention all year long will not go unnoticed.last_img read more

Disastrous start for McIlroy

first_imgRory McIlroy endured a nightmare start to his bid to make it four wins in a row as he reached the turn in a four-over 40 in the first round at The Barclays. The world number one came into the first leg of the four-tournament FedEx Cup play-offs as a hot favourite following victories at the Open Championship, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and US PGA Championship. But his form deserted him during the early stages at Ridgewood Country Club as he registered a double-bogey on the 12th, his third hole, and followed that with bogeys on the 13th and 18th to leave him last of all players on the course. That meant the Northern Irishman was nine shots adrift of the early lead of five under held by Ryo Ishikawa and Steven Bowditch, who had played 14 and 12 holes respectively. Scotland’s Russell Knox was the only European making any sort of impression as he sat three under after 11 holes and two shots off the lead. In-form Rickie Fowler was also three under through 11, while two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson was two under through nine. Defending FedEx Cup champion Henrik Stenson was among the afternoon starters as were European Ryder Cup hopefuls Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood. The top 125 players in the standings have qualified for The Barclays, with the field being trimmed to 100 for the Deutsche Bank Championship, 70 for the BMW Championship and then 30 for the Tour Championship, with the man finishing top of the standings claiming a 10million US dollars bonus. McIlroy led the FedEx Cup standings coming into the tournament followed by Jimmy Walker, Watson, Matt Kuchar and Jim Furyk. center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

Senior Center Working on New Greenhouse for Healthier Meal Options

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisNew projects are under way at the Senior Center including a new greenhouse, and a new garden. Construction for the new glass building started Thursday. The project was funded through a grant thanks to the Michigan Health Endowment Fund.The greenhouse will allow students who are apart of the: ‘Student Project Gourmet’ to continue picking fresh vegetables to help serve meals to the seniors who spend time at the Senior Center.Although it only looks like a foundation at the moment, Glomski said the project would be completed before the end of the summer.AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisContinue ReadingPrevious On The Deck Episode 1 ‘Monohansett’Next Scientists Study Invasive Species To Track Chemical Contamination In The Great Lakeslast_img read more