WINFIELD, W.Va. -- The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department has found a temporary home to offer clinical services to Putnam County residents in their home county.
The Kanawha-Charleston and Putnam Health boards will work out of the Department of Health and Human Resources location in Winfield until Kanawha-Charleston administrators can secure a permanent facility for the Putnam agency, which contracted services with Kanawha-Charleston in June to combat mounting financial problems.
"Our understanding is that we can use this facility for the duration of our agreement with the Putnam County board of health, which is up to Dec. 31. However, we would like to ensure that the citizens of Putnam County have a more permanent home for their health department, and that's what we're working on," said Rahul Gupta, health officer and executive director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department.
Gupta said he anticipates locating a new facility in the coming weeks, and Kanawha-Charleston has enlisted several of its employees to provide services in Putnam County while administrators hire a new staff for the Putnam agency.
Lolita Kirk, administrator for Kanawha-Charleston's health department and interim administrator in Putnam County, said she has requested five positions so far through the state's Division of Personnel: two sanitarians, an accounting technician for payment processing, a licensed practical nurse and a medical assistant to perform medical and clerical services for the agency.
"Every county health department also hires part-timers during peak seasons. You'll hire a few part-timers during flu season to help with flu shots, during back-to-school season you'll hire people to help with that, so you'll have part-time people employed also," Kirk said.
The sanitarian postings will close this week and the Division of Personnel will give Kirk the names of the applicants; there is currently one full-time Kanawha-Charleston sanitarian working in Putnam County who worked as a former Putnam sanitarian, as well as a part-time sanitarian from Cabell County. The temporary facility does not have an exam room, but many of its clinical services will still be available, including walk-in clinics for back-to-school vaccinations.
According to Kirk, the Kanawha-Charleston agency is fully prepared to take on the added load of Putnam school vaccinations, and does not foresee a shortage in vaccinations or services for either county.
"We very much have it under control; we do a lot of shots at Kanawha-Charleston, we're pulling in some extra staff into the mix -- we've got it under control," Kirk said.
Walk-in clinic days for Putnam County school vaccinations will be held Aug. 14, 15, 21 and 22 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the DHHR office at 3405 Winfield Road. Gupta said residents can still call the Putnam agency's old phone number at 304-757-2541 and will be redirected to the Health Department.