(10 Total References)
Kathy Schwartz, RN
Assistant Director of Nursing
the dalles news
Kathy Schwartz, director for the Wasco-Sherman County Public Health Department in The Dalles, said the Oregon Health Plan (OHP), which insures the poor, may be in jeopardy if the Measure goes down."I think it's fair to say that with the state budget crisis that we're in, the Oregon Health Plan is at risk," Schwartz said.At risk will be the 383,339 Oregonians currently enrolled on the OHP."It means they will have a hard time getting medical care in this communnity," Schwartz said."We're talking about newborne babies, young children, young families who are living on very low incomes."To be eligible for the OHP, a family of four can't gross more than $1,500 per month.Currently, 16 percent (3,224 residents) of Wasco County are on the OHP.Sherman County has 214 OHP members.Also affected could be families that use the OHP for pre-natal care and births.In 2001, 121 of 289 Wasco County births were OHP insured (42 percent).
"What we don't have here that they have in a lot of communities is a federally-funded health center," Schwartz
said.The state-run health department in The Dalles Healh
offers immunizations and family planning, but no primary care."There is no safety net for health services here in the community," Schwartz
said.According to a pro-28 pamphlet, the defeat of Measure 28 will mean that the Oregon Department of Human Services
would have to cut $88 million.That cut would cause 100,000 people to lose dental benefits and chemical dependency services under the OHP.
The Dalles Chronicle local news
When Kathy Schwartz, RN, director of the Wasco Sherman Public Health Department, read the article, she wondered why the health department wasn't among the first to know."I called the DEQ and said, ,What's happening?'" Schwartz said.Schwartz then approached the Wasco County Court to establish an air quality task force.The panel was established with city of The Dalles agreement.It includes members from the health community, local fire and other government agencies, and businesses representing the sanitation and wood stove sale industries, as well as interested citizens."The mantra of the task force is that no particulate matter is good," Schwartz said."It's all bad.,,I think a lot of us who have lived here certainly have believed there are a percentage of days that have bad air quality, starting in November and going through March," Schwartz said.November is when inversion layers begin to settle around this end of the Columbia Gorge like a pot on a kettle, creating calm, chilly days that don't allow winds to be scour the air free of wood smoke and other pollutants, as it may be at other times of the year.Air quality indicators in Wasco County have been tracked at least since 1999, Schwartz noted.
"We can't say air quality caused it," Schwartz
cautioned, "but, hypothetically, the spikes in respiratory illness do somewhat corrolate.
The system is voluntary, Schwartz
air quality doesn't fall into the "unhealthy" ranges, Schwartz
noted, although under new federal standards it sometimes falls into the barely acceptable zone."That doesn't mean people can't be affected," Schwartz
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Kathy Schwartz RN, BSN Clinical Nurse Specialist MedCenterDirect mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org 404-442-3056
The Dalles Chronicle local news
Still, the chance to help prevent seasonal flu was just a fringe benefit, not the point of the exercise, Wasco Sherman Public Health director Kathy Schwartz explained."The one we're really concerned about doesn't exist yet," she said.That hypothetical strain would be similar to avian flu but transmissible between humans.To mimic a real outbreak, in which the availability of flu vaccine would be limited, the state provided Wasco Sherman Public Health with just 420 doses , 350 injectable and 70 to be administered as a nasal mist. More than half those doses were sent to St. Peters Parish Center in The Dalles as the site most first responders would likely visit.At the other sites , Moro Medical Center in Sherman County, Gilliam County Medical Center in Condon, and Arlington Medical Center , clinic staff were observing the work of public health staff in order to learn how to get a large number of people vaccinated in a short time."In a real scenario, they would most likely be doing this work for us" in the outlying areas, Schwartz said.She said all 27 of her staff participated in the exercise , either vaccinating at clinics or helping out in the incident command center they set up in the department's meeting room.Schwartz said approximately 110 first responders were vaccinated, which she considered a "very good turnout.
will be determining on Monday what to do with the leftover vaccine, but for the moment no more free flu shots are planned.As soon as an expected shipment of vaccine is received, shots will be offered for $22.Meanwhile, she
encourages people to have their primary care physicians vaccinate them against the seasonal strain of influenza.