I know many of you are wondering what is going on with the budget. The Budget Ad-Hoc Committee has begun meeting to discuss the 2022 budget. While it is far too early to discuss details, I will share that the state legislature made a significant investment in public health funding and I believe the District is in very good shape moving forward. When available, and certainly by our next all-staff meeting, we can discuss the budget in greater detail.
World Mental Health Day is October 10. By some estimates, approximately 18% of the U.S. population has some form of anxiety condition. The ongoing pandemic and our unique roles in responding to community need places us at higher risk due to the stressful nature of our work. I want to encourage everyone to take a few moments each day to pause, reflect, and reset. Make sure you are making time for family, friends, and activities to support a healthy mental health lifestyle. #WorldMentalHealthDay.
Open enrollment is 11/1 to 11/17. The Virtual Benefits Fair will be Tuesday, November 2nd, from 10am to Noon. It will also be recorded. Open enrollment will be processed through Paycom. For those employees that were here in previous years, no more blue memo!
Things you can do during open enrollment:
- Enroll in a medical plan, if you previously waived medical coverage for other coverage.
- Waive enrollment in medical coverage if you have or are enrolling in other comprehensive group medical coverage effective January 1, 2022.
- Enroll or remove eligible dependents in medical, dental and vision plans.
- Change medical plans and/or dental plans.
- Sign up for flexible spending account and/or dependent care account.
Temporary employees with end dates of 12/31 will still be asked to participate in open enrollment in case end date is extended into 2022.
Free goodies from previous benefit fairs will be set out starting immediately on the 3rd floor copy room – first come, first served. These are left-over brand new toothbrushes, ice packs, pens, etc.
Reminder to get your flu shot and email HRQuestions@snohd.org a copy of your proof of flu vaccine, or you can sign a declination form. Please email HR for the form.
Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response
Why Emergency Preparedness Matters
September was National Preparedness Month which we concluded with a fun trivia game. Thank you to all the staff that participated. Antonia Weiss and Lorraine Bartosh won a 72 hour emergency kit.
What is emergency preparedness and response for a response agency?
The Snohomish Health District is a response agency. That means that whenever an emergency occurs within our county (or neighboring counties), all staff should be prepared to respond to the event. The type of response and the number of staff involved depend on what the emergency is. For example:
Extreme heat – During our extreme heat events this summer, SHD participated in an active response by providing information to the general public about the dangers of extreme heat, advising partner agencies on how to safely operate cooling shelters, and monitoring hospital capacity.
Terrorist Attack – This is highly dependent on the type of attack, but SHD’s response could include increased environmental testing and surveillance from both environmental health and communicable diseases, public education and outreach, advising partners on appropriate health and safety protocols, monitoring hospital capacity and potentially setting up mass care sites.
The main way that the Health District responds to emergencies in the county is to send a representative to work out of the County’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC). Our Health District representative serves in the role as ESF8 liaison (Emergency Support Function 8 – public health). Typically, this role is filled by Samara Heydon or Jennifer Reid (from the PHEPR team), however, we are looking to train several other staff members as back-ups.
Did you know we have a program that addresses dental needs in kids? It’s called the Access to Baby and Child Dentistry (ABCD) program. Its housed with our Maternal and Child health group which is supervised by Gift. This program helps to connect low-income families with dentists who know how to care for young children. Additionally, this program helps provide training to dentists on the best ways to provide dental care to babies and young children. This is just one of the cool programs you can find in Prevention Services Division.
- Juliet Lopez passed her RS exam! Congrats to Juliet!
- Brent French successfully passed his FDA Standardization. This is a complex effort our staff are currently undertaking to ensure all of our food inspectors are consistent with their methods and accuracy when performing facility inspections. It’s a challenge to pass it, and we’re proud of Brent’s achievement. A special thank you also goes out to Zach for administering the training and the standardization.
- Retta Taffesse and Phebe Wall assisted DOH and WSDA in a multi-county product recall for raw goat milk that had been tested positive for Listeria. Of the 4 facilities in our county that required a site verification, one places was found still selling the product.
- Phil Wyman and Phebe Wall investigated a 5 person illness at a restaurant in Lake Stevens. Contributing factors were found and corrective actions were taken.
- Brenna Hoppe and Alicia Susinger (The Donated Food Safety Outreach Team) will be collaborating with the Everett Hot Meal Coalition in providing food safety guidance to their food donation sites.
- It’s all about solid waste complaints right now. We have several enforcement actions in process.
- Our new staff member, Garret, and our foodie transfer, Robbie, are getting trained up and up to speed.
- The new staff are getting their feet under them and we’re starting to get caught up and reduce our turnaround times.
- We’re planning for some major process changes in 2022 to get turnaround times down and provide better customer service.
Customer Service and Vital Records
- We’re hiring a PAII for our front counter. Interviews for this position should be this week.