McCOOK, Nebraska -- The director of the Red Willow County, Nebraska, Health Department told county commissioners Monday morning that the department's ability to bill Blue Cross/Blue Shield allows its vaccination program to reach a larger segment of people.
Darcey Hansen RN said she and two other staff people have trained in BC/BS claims submission. Some health clinics, she said, have full-time staff members working only on claims submissions. There is the potential, she said, to bill other insurance companies as well through the electronic claims submission site.
County commissioner Vesta Dack said she was aware that claims submission can be very time-consuming as well as very time-sensitive.
Hansen said that her department has recently completed the extensive paperwork required for Medicare re-validation, a process required every five years to continue to submit claims to Medicare.
Hansen said she is also excited to be able to provide some free flu vaccinations for those without health insurance or for those who simply cannot afford vaccinations.
"Vaccines for Children," a state program, continues to be the biggest program at the health clinic, Hansen said, and they are available by appointment or on a walk-in basis. She said she and her staff work hard to keep up-to-date on immunization trends, "to maintain and offer the best services we possibly can."
Services and programs provided by the county's health department can be found on the health department's new website: redwillowhealth.com
Commission chairman Earl McNutt said that it appears the health department has been busy, especially "with the flu bug probably right around the corner."
Hansen said there may appear to be fewer flu cases because, among other contributing factors, people have been getting flu shots regularly for two to three years now.
Hansen said what drives her department are the "10 essential services of public health":
1. Monitor health status to identify and solve community health problems.
2. Diagnose and investigate health problems and health hazards in the community.
3. Inform, educate, and empower people about health issues.
4. Mobilize community partnerships and action to identify and solve health problems.
5. Develop policies and plans that support individual and community health efforts.
6. Enforce laws and regulations that protect health and ensure safety.
7. Link people to needed personal health services and assure the provision of health care when otherwise unavailable.
8. Assure competent public and personal health care workforce.
9. Evaluate effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of personal and population-based health services.
10. Research for new insights and innovative solutions to health problems.
In other action:
* Commissioners may consign surplus items from courthouse storage to an auction. "Greg's (Holthus) on a mission to clear out the fourth floor," McNutt said.
* Commissioners approved removing two Red Willow County projects from a list of roads projects that could possibly be funded with federal aid. The "McCook South" project -- an east-west road that runs past McCook's water treatment facility south of McCook -- has been on the list since 1994 without being funded. "Indianola North" -- 71⁄2 miles of road from Indianola north -- has been on the list without being funded since 1986.