Salem heath board told state determined on tough accreditation

SALEM – City Health Commissioner Richard Setty updated health board members on the status of legislation regarding local health departments, noting some changes have been made, but the requirement for mandatory accreditation remains.

“The bottom line is, they want to see fewer local health departments in Ohio,” he said.

The Association of Ohio Health Commissioners is trying to get the requirement removed or at least voluntary. The requirement came out of recommendations made by the Public Health Futures Committee, which looked at shared services, consolidations and ways to increase efficiency in local health departments statewide.

Setty said previously the Ohio Department of Health was attempting to implement some of the major components of the health futures report through the state budget. The budget would authorize ODH to require general or city health departments to be accredited beginning in 2018 as a condition to receive funding from ODH, whether it’s through grants or the state subsidy. There would also be a cost associated with accreditation required every five years.

According to Setty, the state is pushing for the requirement as a means to make it so tough on some of the smaller departments that they’ll have no choice but to consolidate with other departments.

Mayor John Berlin said local control of health care is essential, but if things change legislatively, they’ll just have to deal with it.

The board met behind closed doors for part of the meeting for personnel. When they returned to open session, they agreed to name Patricia Howard of Washingtonville as the vital statistics clerk, a part-time position recently created to help with coverage of vital statistics work and other duties in the office.

Setty said they received 33 applications, including one from the retired vital statistics registrar, with four people selected for interviews. One declined because it wouldn’t be enough hours, with three candidates interviewed for the job.

The position will pay $9 per hour during a training period of 20 hours and after certification, the pay will rise to $10 per hour for 10 hours per week. Setty said Howard had a bachelor’s degree in business administration and experience in bookkeeping and accounting. He said she was looking to stay active and was willing to become a notary public. She’ll have to complete some online testing to become certified to handle vital statistics.

The next health board meeting is set for 10 a.m. May 23.

Mary Ann Greier can be reached at