"It comes down to managing your appointments and managing your space effectively. You can do a lot with very little space, actually," Kirk said. "I think we can handle the volume."
According to Kirk, rent for the space is "significantly less" than what the Putnam Health Department paid for its previous location. The building the Health Department has moved into is up for sale, but Kirk said it has been on the market for a long time and she does not foresee major complications if it is sold.
"We feel pretty confident we'll be there for a while -- for the time being, anyway," she said. "You never know, and nothing is absolute. It's one of those things where you don't know what the options might be."
The Putnam County Health Department contracted services with Kanawha-Charleston in June to combat mounting financial problems. The Putnam County Board of Health voted to lay off the department's 12 full-time and two part-time staff members and vacate its previous office space to deal with more than $400,000 in debt.
Kirk said the Kanawha-Charleston agency has hired a full-time clerical worker for the Putnam location, and has encouraged LPNs, registered nurses and other Kanawha-Charleston employees to work out of Putnam County on a rotating basis. She expects to hire an LPN by Oct. 1 and an RN by mid-October to work in Winfield.
Kirk said she hopes to expand the Putnam agency's offerings by the end of the month to include HIV and pregnancy testing, and by Jan. 1 hopes to have a level of service comparable to what the department offered before its current problems.
"It will be very similar to [how] Kanawha-Charleston operates. Then again, there may be services the community there identifies that it wants that we don't have at Kanawha-Charleston," Kirk said. "When you're in public health, it's important to listen to what the community and public are saying they need."
The Putnam County Health Department is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. To schedule an appointment or inquire about services offered through the agency, call 304-757-2541.
Reach Lydia Nuzum at lydia.nu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.