Health Services in Ford and Iroquois Counties Expected To Increase
A joint Ford-Iroquois County Health Department has about seven months before it’s expected to dissolve, and two separate entities start operations.
Interim Administrator Steven Williams was hired to oversee that transition. He said he’s working to make it seamless, and to ensure that two new health departments are staffed and ready by July.
The two County Boards say the priorities became too regional, and areas like home health care were cut, due to cost. Both boards recently voted to end the bi-county structure.
Williams said it’s too early to say what other specific health concerns are in each county, but adds cost will be a greater factor.
“It is always going to be more expensive to offer the services individually versus cooperatively," he said. "The counties understand that, I tried to explain that, I think everybody understands that the counties will end up paying more for services independently of one another.”
Williams says personnel at the joint health department are unsure about their future, but calls each of them ‘passionate’ about serving the communities in areas like environmental health.
"So just keeping the existing services at a high level that the community has been used, that's our biggest challenge right now," he said. "As well as the dissolution itself, and making sure we're ready to go come July 1."
Williams, who's based in Tennessee, works for a health care executive placement firm that sets up administrators for interim appointments.
He said it's likely the newly formed Ford County Health Department would remain in the current office in Paxton, but it's unclear if the new Iroquois County Health Department would locate in the county seat of Watseka.