St. Francois County Health Center celebrated its recent accreditation and 40th anniversary as a local public health agency at an open house held April 29 at the health center in Park Hills.
Attending the open house were local community partners, current and former members of the health center’s board of trustees, former health center directors, Missouri Department of Health staff and the public.
Denise Strehlow, Missouri Institute for Community Health (MICH) vice president, presented the accreditation award to Debbie Hoehn, health center director. Peter Lyskowski, acting director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services also presented a certificate of commendation to the health center for achieving MICH accreditation.
The health center was awarded its certificate of accreditation from MICH’s board of directors in March. Accreditation is a process of review that healthcare organizations participate in to demonstrate their ability to meet predetermined criteria and standards of accreditation established by a professional accrediting agency.
According to Hoehn, accreditation represents agencies as credible and reputable organizations dedicated to ongoing and continuous compliance with the highest standards of quality.
“To obtain the designation, the health center staff completed a thorough self-assessment process to obtain the designation,” she said. “They demonstrated to a team of reviewers that the community of St. Francois is protected by a proficient local public health system which is able to provide quality services and meet the increasing challenges faced by agencies today.
“The process of preparing for accreditation required all of our staff to do an assessment of program standards. We evaluated our performance and made improvements where needed to improve the quality of our services to the community. I am very proud of the work the staff did to allow us to achieve 100 percent in our evaluation by the reviewers.”
At the accreditation/anniversary event Hoehn told the group, “We are here today to also celebrate 40 years as a local public health agency.”
The health center started in 1975 as a pilot nursing service to county residents with two nurses and a clerk. One year later the county residents voted overwhelmingly to support a county health department by a tax levy. One of those nurses, Jane Hartrup, later became health center director for more than 20 years.
Hoehn thanked Hartrup for all her contributions to county residents, as well as the health staff that she mentored in public health along the way.
“It is because of that foundation for public health that was laid 40 years ago that we are here today to celebrate these accomplishments,” Hoehn said.
The director also thanked the “numerous” community partners that the health center has worked with over the years, and continues to work with, to help prevent disease, promote health and protect the residents of St. Francois County.
Hoehn thanked those in attendance and invited the crowd to tour the newly remodeled Women, Infants and Children’s (WIC) department. She told the crowd that the remodeling was paid for by a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture to increase efficiency in providing service to WIC participants.
“It is because of that foundation for public health that was laid 40 years ago that we are here today to celebrate these accomplishments.” Debbie Hoehn, health center director
Kevin Jenkins is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3614 or email@example.com