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Randolph County Health Department
1319 Hwy 24 E, Moberly, MO 65270

660-263-6643660-263-0333

About Us

Mission Statement
To provide quality services to protect, maintain and enhance community well-being by promoting conditions
in which people can achieve their maximum level of health.

Randolph County Health Department Vision
“Healthy People in a Healthy Community United for a better and brighter tomorrow.”

Philosophy

The Randolph County Health Department functions with the overall philosophy of maximizing wellness and healthy lifestyles in the community. It needs to be thought of as the team for public health in the community to prevent illness and the spread of disease and to serve the county as a whole to the best of its ability. The team consists of nursing, social work, environmental, health education, therapies, physicians, laboratory support, clerical support, and all disciplines that contribute to health care. It is this team approach that is extremely valuable in the interfacing with other community agencies so that the three public health core functions of assessment, assurance, and policy development, are used to their fullest. That this team is able to assess the needs of the community, assure that services are available to the population, and advocate for policy development to enrich the health of the community. The team concept is of utmost importance to the welfare of the community and is the only way to effectively serve the community as a whole. As long as the Randolph County Health Department acts in good faith to prevent illness and promote wellness for the public good it will have served its purpose and fulfilled the wishes of all the citizens of Randolph County to do the best job for the most people. Most of us need medical care sometime in our lives, but we need public health all of the time. Let the health department and its purpose survive and prosper.

Board of Health

The Board of Trustees is responsible for the operation of the Randolph County Health Department and is also responsible for setting the annual public health tax levy rate. The Board is instrumental in designing the strategic plan, implementing public health programs, and adopting public health ordinances designed for the improvement of health for all who live, work, and visit Randolph County.

The Board of Trustees meets at the Randolph County Health Department, located at 1319 Hwy 24 E, Moberly, MO. on the last Monday of each month @ 5:00PM in the Home Health Conference Room.

 

Administrator of Randolph County Health Department

Debra Laird

Board of Trustees
Chairperson
Mike Cochran
Vice Chairperson
Darya Kohls
Secretary-Treasurer
Linda Schopp
Member at Large
Karen Berding
Member at Large
Mary Neustifter

 

History

Randolph County Health Department located at 1319 Hwy 24 E. in Moberly, Missouri, has history going back to 1932. Moberly is a city of approximately 13,700 people located in Randolph County which contains 25,000 people. The county is located in north central Missouri approximately 35 miles north of Columbia at the intersection of highways 63 and 24. The county has several industries such as a Wal-Mart Distribution Center, Mid-Am Building Products,  Associated Electric Cooperative, and Norfolk and Southern Railroad. The community has Moberly Regional Medical Center, a one hundred bed, secondary level hospital owned by Community Health Systems.

The beginning..

After smallpox took its toll in the 1920’s, public health clinics were held throughout the country to give mass immunizations for diseases. By 1932, Randolph county public health had two employees on staff and was under the Red Cross Office, the county court, and a county health coordinator. Services were provided by Beatrice Kinney, a nurse who went into schools and did home visits. The only other staff member was a clerk. The county public health service focused on personal hygiene, school health, childcare, symptoms of disease, and care of the ill patient.

In the 1940’s, Mrs. R.S. Echles was named Randolph County Coordinator and Mildred Oswalt was the RN for Randolph County. In 1947, Dr W.D.Chute introduced the first well baby clinic in Randolph County. Dr. Chute donated his time and held the clinics on Reed Street. The second floor office consisted of 3 rooms, an audiometer, projector, refrigerator, needle sterilizer, and two scales. Later, various churches were used to hold well baby clinics. By the mid-1950’s, student nurses from the University of Missouri began clinical rotations with the public health nurse in Randolph County. Dr. Chute volunteered his services until 1961 and was involved from time to time after that in Child Health Conference clinics up until 1985.

Nursing reports from the mid-1950’s show a vast range of duties for the public health nurse in Randolph County including countless meetings, home visits to tuberculosis patients, admitting patients to the tuberculosis sanatorium and setting up physician exams for family members. They also conducted free polio clinics and typhoid clinics after a child expired from typhoid. Other services included screening tests for hearing and vision in the schools, referring children to speech clinics in Columbia, arranging funding from local organizations to provide medication for children with muscular dystrophy, referring patients with venereal diseases (sexually transmitted diseases) to physicians, helping local nursing homes meet minimum standards to become licensed, and adding children to the State Crippled Children’s Service.

Public health continues to grow despite setbacks at the polls…

The Randolph County Health Council voted to serve as a pilot program for the establishment of a county health unit in 1961. In early 1963, dozens of civic and local organizations supported passing a mill tax for a public health unit for Randolph County. The unit would “provide a well balanced public health program administered for the promotion of good health and prevention of diseases”. It would focus upon 5 areas: administration, nursing, dental health, environmental health, and health education. The measure needed a 2/3 majority to pass. On March 5, the election was held and there were 967 Yes and 489 No votes, 11 votes short of passing.

A year later, in 1964, two big things happened for Randolph County public health. First, Mrs. Temple Stephens remodeled and donated a building for the public health nurses at 551 W. Coates and they moved their offices. Second, oral polio sugar cubes were given to more than 34,000 people in Randolph County at special clinics. People were lined up around the block to get this protection for their families. In the next couple of years, tetanus vaccines were given to over 3,000 adults.

A special election was held in December of 1974 to pass a mill tax supporting public health. Randolph county voters, once again, voted against starting a county health department. Services continued to be provided by the Nursing Service out of the basement of the Moberly Courthouse. In many cases clinics were held in the courthouse basement, adjacent to holding cells containing prisoners awaiting trial or arraignment. Every time a heavy rain occurred in Moberly, the courthouse basement would flood and cause additional problems for the nursing staff.

By the mid-nineteen seventies, Annabel Crum, RN, explained to the public that more nurses were needed and that only a small portion of Randolph County was being served by the nursing service due to the population size. Mass immunization clinics were held for measles, mumps, and rubella, oral polio, diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough). Screening clinics were held for health problems such as hypertension, sickle cell anemia and diabetes. The public health unit was providing maternal/child care, sanitation services, communicable disease programs, lab services, vital statistics, health education, and care of the elderly. Services were not only provided at the Courthouse, but also in client homes and in schools.

During the 1970’s, Randolph County Public Health Unit was providing speech and physical therapy for pre-school children. The WIC (Women, Infants & Children) program started in 1975, giving nutrition education and food to pregnant women and children. The WIC program currently has 6 employees and serves 1100 people a month, under the supervision of Diana Taylor. Moberly and Westran schools had nurses, but other Randolph County schools used the public health unit for nursing services, including hearing/vision screenings, immunizations, and health education. Local physicians assisted and gave guidance. Student nurses were also used and services were available to everyone in the community.

In 1979, the county health council was able to start a two year trial period for a county health demonstration unit through the Missouri Division of Health. Public health was still operated from the basement of the Moberly courthouse at this time. The council hired additional nurses, a sanitarian, and a health educator. During this year and the next, public health employees in Randolph County made 2400 home visits, 1600 office visits for health services, and another 690 for health education. They had done 3800 blood pressure checks, screened 270 pre-school children, 820 scoliosis screenings, 78 sickle cell anemia screenings, and had 890 participants at polio clinics. They had presented 96 health programs to the community, provided 1260 immunizations, done 90 water analysis tests, and inspected dozens of hotels, restaurants, schools, pools and food processing plants in the community.

The environmental services that started this year were part of a two year demonstration project begun by the state of Missouri. Janet Murray, REHS, was hired part time as the environmental health employee and served the county for many years until her retirement in March 2015.  Originally, the city of Moberly had an inspector who inspected sewage systems, pools, water, etc, while the health department covered the inspections in the rest of Randolph County. Within a few years, Randolph County Health Department was doing all the inspections in the county. In the 80’s the environmental department added food safety inspections and education as the state and county passed food codes and revised sewer codes. In 1990, the position of environmental worker became full time and later another full time person was hired.

Randolph County Health Department becomes a reality…

In June of 1980, Annabel Crum chaired a campaign committee and the county voted overwhelmingly (85% yes) to establish a mill tax to finance a public health department. The Randolph County Health Department was established! Control passed from the Missouri Division of Health and Randolph County Courthouse to a five member, elected Board of Trustees.

Randolph County Health Department began Home Health care for older adults and the disabled through a subcontract with Audrain City/County Health Unit. Fran Wright, BSN, RN was the supervisor and Lola Dillon, RN was the staff nurse and Lillian Payton was the clerical support. In 1984, Randolph applied for and became a Home Health Agency through Medicare. Currently, the Home Health team consists of ten employees and is under the direction of Sandy Walker, RN. The program serves Randolph and surrounding counties and has a contractual relationship with Shelby County. The current caseload average is approximately 60 patients at any one time.

RCHD moves into its current building…

In 1982, the health department moved into a part of the Westlake Hardware Corporate Offices which occupied the Old Woodland Hospital. The Woodland Hospital was one of four in Moberly and was actually the medical hospital. The health department occupied a few small rooms that had been physician offices when the hospital was in operation. The Woodland Hospital and Community Hospital (Osteopathic) were combined and a new hospital, Moberly Regional Medical Center was opened in 1981. Public health nurses and student nurses provided many services including blood sugar tests, blood pressure clinics, prenatal clinics, pregnancy testing, well child clinics, and the Women Infants and Children program. Environmental services included restaurant inspections, water testing, and environmental complaints.

In 1983, Annabel Crum retired after serving many years as public health nurse and administrator. Ross McKinstry was appointed administrator and continues to serve in this position today. In 1985, the Randolph County Health Department began offering Family Planning Clinics in addition to the many clinics already in operation. In 1988, Home Management services were offered to Randolph County residents to help older or disabled persons to stay in their own homes by providing an RN, housekeeping, and personal care. Home Management continues to serve the community and is under the supervision of Cathy Wright.

RCHD continues to grow and change to serve the community…

In 1988 the health department successfully passed a tax levy increase to raise the ceiling on taxes from 10 cents per $100 of assessed valuation to 15 cents. The health department collaborated with physicians from the Moberly Regional Medical Center’s Emergency Department to establish a primary care clinic operated by family nurse practitioners working under so-called standing orders later to become collaborative practice agreements. The health department leased additional space from the Westlake Hardware Company for the primary care clinic in space that had been occupied by Dr. Clarence Cohrs, M.D. The new clinic was quite a change for the health department because the clinic format changed from a mass clinic where clients came in all at once to one where they were handled by appointment. The new clinic became very much like a physician’s office. The fee-based primary care clinic still addresses unmet medical needs of residents with or without health insurance and is partially funded by Randolph County United Way. The clinic is under the supervision of Brooke Gipson, MBA, RN.

In 1984, the first computer an Apple McIntosh was purchased and payroll and accounting were done on Multi-Plan, the Microsoft precursor to Excel.

By the early 90’s, the Randolph County Health Department had more than 60 employees. While the health department made 1200 home visits in 1979, by 1995, it made 22,154 home visits to the residents of Randolph County. A multi-county educator served Chariton, Monroe, and Randolph county residents, working in the communities and schools promoting health education. The Community Health department has evolved to 6 employees under the supervision of Brooke Gipson, MBA, RN. Community health promotes Smokebusters, an anti-smoking program for children in partnership with the northeastern cancer coalition and funded by the Missouri Health Foundation, in schools in seventeen counties. This department works to educate the public on chronic diseases, nutrition, dental issues, car seats for infants and children, and the importance of physical activity. They are responsible for all news releases and community education for the department. They schedule monthly radio programs on the “Doctor’s Office” program on local, regional radio KWIX in Moberly. They also administer the departments’ web site www.randolphcountyhealth.org which currently has over 8000 visitors per month.

In 1991, the health department became the second Medicare certified hospice in the state and LeAnn Judy, BSN, RN was hired as the director. That same year the health department went into the child care business and opened a daycare. The director was Stephanie Kendrick and the assistant was Pat Laurence. The center was licensed for 48 children and provided infant as well as child care. This was a particularly valuable service to the young mothers of the health department staff.

In 1992, Randolph County Health Department began a service for pregnant women and their children up to age 5. The program was started with a multifaceted approach that included visits to the homes for both nursing and therapies. The therapies included speech, physical, and occupational therapy and some of the services were also contracted to area schools to provide these services to children while in school. It was called Caring for Kids and it was unique to Randolph County. The first supervisor and founder of that program was Carla Price, RN. The program has since evolved away from providing therapies to become a voluntary home visitation service that works with Parents as Teachers and has gained statewide recognition. The program is currently under the supervision of Diana Taylor. The home visitation is done by Family Support Workers who visit young first time mothers with children under 3 years old who could be at risk for not having any parenting skills. This program now includes a program called Time for Tots that provides educational toys and games for stay at home parents. The whole premise is to teach appropriate maternal and child interaction in an effort to decrease child abuse, neglect, and subsequent out of home placements in the county. The program is voluntary and has been quite successful. Governor Mel Carnahan visited the program making home visits with the workers and congratulated the program in front of a statewide audience of Parents as Teachers held at the Randolph County Health Department.

In 1994, the Frank K. Westlake family donated the Westlake building to Randolph County Health Department in his memory. This historic building, constructed in the 1800’s, had been established as a hospital in 1909 when Dr. and Mrs. C.B. Clapp purchased a colonial home and converted it. Parts of the old building date back to the Civil War. The building is approximately 33,000 square feet on four levels. The health department occupies half of the building and the rest is rented out for small offices.

In 1995 the accounting department within the health department was established and a financial officer, Mr. Lance Abshier, was hired to change the accounting system from cash to an accrual system and to expand the computer information system. The system made management of the department much easier because financial information could be related to real time events. The accounting department is currently managed by the Chief Financial Officer, Sharon Whisenand, MBA and accounting services are also done for Chariton and Monroe County Health Departments as well as Randolph County Caring Communities Partnership.

In 1998 amid problems with coordination of care, inadequate reimbursement, and increasing competition, the Board of Trustees decided to close the Hospice program. Hospice services continued to be offered by other agencies in the community. That same year the Daycare was closed due to continued financial losses and the space was leased out to an individual and continues to operate as a child care facility.

Into the future…

The health department is now an active participant in the Randolph County Caring Communities Partnership and works with other community agencies to help solve community problems. Current issues that have been addressed are lack of transportation in the community, lack of mental health resources, and emergency response. The transportation issue has been helped by a service contracted through OATS Inc. called the Magic City Express. This is a curb to curb van service that is handicapped accessible and dispatched on an individual appointment basis. Each ride costs participants $2. The service now runs five days per week and provides over 15,000 one way trips per year.

Randolph County Health Department takes part in Strategic National Stockpile Exercises and is an active part of the county emergency response team.

As Randolph County Health Department moves into a new century, it continually grows and changes to meet the needs of Randolph County residents. The health department strives to live up to its mission which is: To provide quality services to protect, maintain and enhance community well being by promoting conditions in which people can achieve their maximum level of health.

© Randolph County Health Department