WAUSAU, WI (WSAU) - Marathon County’s Health Department has received a grant to help expand shared services with other areas. Health Officer Joan Theurer says there is state and federal interest in saving money by having some health programs shared with multiple counties or agencies. She says this grant will help find more ways to do that. The grant is from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for $125,000.
Theurer says one example where several counties already share resources is with lead poisoning cases. “Some counties may only get one case of a child with lead poisoning once a year or once every two years, and to become certified to do lead assessments is time intensive, so it doesn’t make sense to have a staff person trained when you’re going to do it maybe once in a year.”
Another example is the radon testing program, which Marathon County administers but is offered in several north central Wisconsin counties.
Theurer says the money is earmarked for coordination and to meet with other grant recipients around the country to compare and share ideas. “It’s being spent to have somebody kind of coordinate the work among the eighteen counties. A portion of the funds is being spent to spend a team of seven people to a national meeting, and that will happen three times over the course of the two years.”
Eighteen counties and the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe health departments are participating in this program and service sharing initiative.
Theurer says the people that need services go to the health department in their county or community as they do now, and those departments know how to connect with the shared services available.