2007 ~ The Board of Selectman and the Finance Committee both gave their go ahead to the Personnel Board to create this position after the position was voted in at Town Meeting in 2007.
How will you fund this position? We value the position of a Public Health Nurse so highly due to the increased services to the Town. We have requested that the 2008 Board of Health budget support this position and have received approval from the Selectman and the Finance Committee. We believe the Board of Health staff and the Public Health Nurse can efficiently run all future flu clinics and by doing so will
reimburse the Town & Board of Health Department. Any other donations received by the Heath Department for nursing services will be also be used to offset costs.
Why only 5 per week hours? Public Health Nurses are like a volunteer paid fire department. They are on call for Public Health emergencies regardless of paid position. Five hours per week is an average work week. Five hours compared to the average VNA's 15 minutes per week is a vast improvement for the Town. With this time, we expect our Nurse to vastly increase services to our residents.
How will a PHN function? The PHN position is under the guidance of the Board of Health and works with the Administrator for the Board of Health. The PHN functions are defined in her Personnel Board’s description and are available for anyone to see. FOR AN IDEA OF THE SCOPE OF PRACTICE, STANDARDS OF PRACTICE AND GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR A PHN, please see the opening page BENEFITS OF A PUBLIC HEALTH NURSE on the Town's web site.
HOW DO WE FUND SERVICES NOW? We fund a contracted nurse service through the VNA and lose money for the Town currently and receive very few programs and services in return. The VNA's fees are high and we do not call on them to serve the Town's population unless absolutely necessary due to the costs involved.
The Visiting Nurses Association, rather than the Town of Essex, currently receives all the Medicare reimbursements from the flu clinics, plus we pay them $10 per vaccine administered
for those not reimbursed by Medicare. Between loss of reimbursements and vaccination costs paid, the cost to the town for this past flu season was $2620.60. This does not include costs paid for other services during the year. They earn $48.41 per hour and $122.57 for home visits.
Three 3 hour flu clinics run by a Town Public Health Nurse would cost a total of only $243.00. The Town would pay only $27 per hour to a Town Public Health Nurse (versus $48.41 for the VNA nurse) including home visits . Currently this money comes out of a line-item in the Board of Health’s budget each year. This would remain the same.
For a detailed explanation of our need for a PH nurse, click here.