Annual health district report released

The annual report detailing the 2012 activities of the Salem City Health District became available recently, showing a decrease in the number of birth and death certificates issued and less income than in 2011.

City Health Commissioner Rick Setty said department personnel continue to “try to work more efficiently providing the services we provide and working with our sister organizations.”

A limited number of copies of the annual report are available at the health department headquarters at the KSU City Center on North Lincoln Avenue, with the report to be posted eventually on the department website at

Besides messages from Setty and the Salem City Board of Health, the annual report includes a financial statement, vital statistics numbers related to births and deaths, nursing division numbers such as inoculations administered, environmental health information dealing with food service, tattoos, nuisance complaints and animal bites, and rabies information.

The report also includes an update on the Tri-County Community Health Assessment and Planning and the Columbiana County Community Health Assessment and goals for improving health. There’s also a page from county Health Commissioner Wesley Vins on services still provided by the county health district to city residents.

“The board of the Salem City Health District continues to follow and adapt to the ever changing mandates of public health. Like most of today’s world, increasing demands and dwindling resources require creative and innovative approaches to maintain services,” a letter from the board said.

One of the challenges facing the board is the reduced number of birth and death certificates being issued, especially since birth certificates can be issued now from any health department in the state. Someone born in Salem doesn’t necessarily have to come to the Salem Health Department to get a copy of their birth certificate. They can go anywhere in the state and vice versa. Someone born elsewhere in Ohio can get a copy of their birth certificate at the Salem Health Department.

According to the annual report, the number of certified birth certificates dropped in 2012 to 1,414. The number issued in 2011 was 1,756. The number of births registered dropped from 548 in 2011 to 529 in 2012.

The number of death certificates issued also decreased slightly, from 1,244 in 2011 to 1,195 in 2012, with the number of deaths registered decreasing from 330 in 2011 to 315 in 2012. In the case of death certificates, the documents must be secured from the health district where the death occurred and many times multiple copies are requested.

The decreases in both areas, which bring in the majority of the funding for health district operations, was evident in the report listing money receipted for the year. The income for birth certificates decreased from $46,534 in 2011 to $37,547 in 2012. The income for death certificates decreased from $32,966 in 2011 to $29,343 in 2012.

Another area where income dropped, in dramatic fashion, was food service licenses, largely due to a change in the fee structure. Fees had been reduced for 2012 due to the formula being based on city personnel and the hours spent on food service. In 2011, the numbers were still based on county figures.

Due to the change, income dropped in food service from $33,228 in 2011 to $6,482 in 2012. For 2013, the fees were refigured and increased so the income should increase when this year’s report is issued next year.

The decreases in both vital statistics and food service led to a decrease in total revenue, from $173,738 in 2011 to $154,172 in 2012. Revenue includes the local per capita amount paid for each person residing in the district, roughly $3 per every man, woman and child in the city, equaling $36,909, according to the report both years.

The department also receives a small state subsidy, reduced in 2012 to $3,430 from $5,472 in 2011. Part of the department’s income includes fees which have to be returned to the state, with $39,211 remitted in 2012. A total of $43,166 was remitted in 2011.

In the nursing division, the total number of injections given decreased from 551 children and 74 adults in 2011 to 429 children and 33 adults in 2012.

The number of inspections and investigations by the environmental division stayed close to the same in 2012 as they were in 2011, with most of the numbers increasing in 2012. Those numbers as reported (with 2011 in parentheses) included: retail food, 51 (56); food service, 173 (169); tattoo establishments, 3 (2); swimming pools and spas, 5 (2); nuisance complaints, 27 (21); animal bites, 34 (32); and schools, 5 (5).

Most of the animal bites involved dogs, although there were also eight cats and one rabbit in both years and a bat in 2012.

There were no positive rabies cases in the district, but Setty said it’s something they’re keeping a close eye on this year since there have been three positive cases in neighboring Mahoning County and one in Trumbull County. He said they’re currently working on a protocol with the police department and humane officer on how to handle calls about suspicious raccoons.

He cautioned that just because someone sees a raccoon during the day, that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything wrong. He said if the raccoon is acting aggressively or appears sick, then a call should be made to the health department or police.

The health department does not have the means to trap animals or dispatch them if necessary, so Setty said they’ve been working with a USDA representative in Poland they contact.

Anyone with questions about the annual report can contact the health department at 330-332-1618.