Health and Fitness

Wakulla Health Care Task Force
October 23, 2007 

Members Present: Lynn Artz, Howard Kessler, Mary Lescher, Cathy Price, Brian Richardson, and Kim Rittman. 

I.          Welcome & Introductions

II.          Approval of Agenda

III.         Approval of Minutes 

IV.        Congressman Boyd's District Healthcare Council:  Commissioner Kessler will contact Boyd's office to make sure he is on the mailing list for the Council.  No information has been received in regards to visit to the county or upcoming meetings. 
V.         Big Bend Health Council: Marlon plans to forward minutes and meeting dates to Lynn to keep Task Force informed. 

VI.        County-wide Smoking Cessation Intervention: Lynn proposed that the Task Force implement a community wide smoking cessation event in conjunction with the Valentines Parade in February. "Quit and Win" is a program encouraging smokers to stop smoking on a specified date and have a chance to win monetary rewards. Research has shown that this type of program appeals to blue collar males and the quit rates are 15-20% for one year. The Task Force can have a booth at the Valentine Festival. The booth and quit date will be publicized in January and first of February.   Survivor kits will be given to participants. The Task Force will need assistance in printing brochures to publicize the event. We will also need to address local pharmacies to see if they can offer coupons for smoking cessation aides.  In addition a volunteer is needed to seek donations to be used as rewards. Discussed possibility of approaching Chamber of Commerce to get Businesses involved to encourage smoke free employees. A sub-committee will be formed to work on this task. Any interest in assisting, please contact Lynn Artz.  Cathy will check with Health Department regarding hiring of Health Educator and possible smoking cessation funds to assist with publicity.


VII.       Offer from Wakulla Health Institute: F/U to see if any area providers contacted Carol Easley to schedule training.  Encouraged providers to utilize this resource. Phone # 850-201-8481.


VIII.       Volunteer Clinic: Dr. Rittman expressed interest in having a volunteer clinic once a month at the Sopchoppy Medical Office. Volunteer nurses would be appreciated. Also, interested in the possibility of Sovereign Immunity through DOH.  Lat Penland was recommended as a contact person for more information.


IX.        Visitor Brochure: Reviewed the latest edition of the brochure.  Made comments and suggestions regarding graphics and information. Interested in having the final draft printed for circulation. Recommendation was made to contact the listed providers for funding due to advertising their services. The Task Force needs a volunteer to seek funding for printing. Anyone interested can contact Lynn Artz.


X. Health and Fitness section on this website allows opportunity to disseminate health education and/or services. For example, Flu Clinic, Health Observance Months, Childbirth Classes, etc. Providers are encouraged to utilize this resource.


XI.        Provider Updates:

            TMH Respiratory Services: Mary Lescher, Director of Respiratory, updated the Task Force on services provided by Respiratory Department i.e. community outreach, asthma & COPD education, education in schools to children with asthma, smoking cessation, and participation in Health Fairs.

            Capital Regional Health Care in Crawfordville:  Office is up and running. Still looking for ARNP or PA to assist with the caseload.


XIII.       Meeting Adjourned: Next meeting is November 27th at 6p.m. at TCC in Crawfordville. Future Meeting Dates are: January 22nd, February 26th, March 25th, and April 22nd.

These minutes originally published on November 13, 2007.

Using AEDs and CPR Increases Survival, Study Indicates

aed10 with case 150.gif{sidebar id=3}MedPage Today (11/7, Phend) reports, "Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) save more than one life per day in real-world use in the United States and Canada," according to findings presented at the American Heart Association meeting in Orlando on Tuesday.  Myron L. Weisfeldt, M.D., of Johns Hopkins University, and colleagues, "studied outcomes from a pre-hospital emergency care trials network, the Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium," in order to confirm that "AEDs improved survival even without a specific intervention to train lay volunteers."

The researchers used data from "11 urban and rural sites in the U.S. and Canada, covering a population of about 20 million," and focused on "9,897 nontraumatic, out-of-hospital cardiac arrests that occurred over a one-year period, and were evaluated by emergency medical services personnel." They found that "[c]ombination use of an AED and CPR more than quadrupled survival compared with CPR alone."  In addition, "survival was still 2.45-fold more likely with the combination," after adjusting "for location of the cardiac arrest, paramedic response time, and bystander CPR attempts."

- Submitted by Lynn Artz, Wakulla County Health Care Task Force

This article originally published on November 12, 2007.

CDC Study Finds U.S. Schools Making Progress in Decreasing Availability of Junk Food and Promoting Physical Activity

However, More Progress Needed to Foster Health and Wellness of Students

{sidebar id=1}The nation’s schools have made considerable improvements in their policies and programs to promote the health and safety of students, particularly in the areas of nutrition, physical activity and tobacco use, says a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, more needs to be done to strengthen school health and wellness policies and programs, according to CDC.

The School Health Policies and Programs Study (SHPPS) 2006, conducted by CDC and published in the October 2007 issue of the Journal of School Health, is the largest and most comprehensive study of health policies and programs in the nation’s schools. Previous SHPPS were conducted in 1994 and 2000.

“Since the release of the previous SHPPS in 2000, America’s schools have made significant progress in removing junk food, offering more physical activity opportunities, and establishing policies that prohibit tobacco use,” said CDC Director Julie L. Gerberding, M.D., M.P.H. “Our goal with this report is to provide health and education officials with useful information that will help them develop and improve programs that can have significant benefit for our school-aged children.”

Major findings include:

  • States prohibiting schools from offering junk foods in vending machines increased from 8 percent in 2000 to 32 percent in 2006, and the percentage of school districts doing so increased from 4 percent to 30 percent.

  • Schools selling water in vending machines or school stores increased from 30 percent in 2000 to 46 percent in 2006.

  • States that required elementary schools to provide students with regularly scheduled recess increased from 4 percent in 2000 to 12 percent in 2006 and the percentage of school districts with this requirement increased from 46 percent to 57 percent.

  • Schools with policies that prohibited all tobacco use in all school locations, including off-campus school-sponsored events, increased from 46 percent in 2000 to 64 percent in 2006.

  • Schools that sold cookies, cake, or other high-fat baked goods in vending machines or school stores decreased from 38 percent in 2000 to 25 percent in 2006.

  • Schools that offered salads a la carte increased from 53 percent in 2000 to 73 percent in 2006.

The percentage of schools that offered deep fried potatoes (French fries) a la carte decreased from 40 percent to 19 percent.The 2006 SHPPS also identified several areas that need improvement including:

  • Seventy-seven percent of high schools still sell soda or fruit drinks that are not 100 percent juice, and 61 percent sell salty snacks not low in fat in their vending machines or school stores.

  • Only 4 percent of elementary schools, 8 percent of middle schools, and 2 percent of high schools provided daily physical education or its equivalent for the entire school year for students in all grades.

  • Overall, 22 percent of schools did not require students to take any physical education.

  • Currently, 36 percent of schools still do not have policies prohibiting tobacco use in all locations at all times.

“If we want to build on the improvements that schools have made over the past six years, we need to involve many people and programs,” said Howell Wechsler, Ed.D., M.P.H., director of CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health.  “Families, schools, school boards, and school administrators all need to work together to develop and implement policies and programs that promote health and safety among our nation’s young people.”

SHPPS is a national survey conducted every six years to assess school health policies and programs at the state, district, school, and classroom levels. For more information about SHPPS 2006, including fact sheets that summarize study highlights and a summary of state education agency policies, visit .

This article originally published on November 5, 2007.

Florida Dept. of Health Warns Against Risks of Eating Raw Oysters after Bacterial Illness Outbreak in Other States

plate of raw oysters 125.jpgThe Florida Department of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are warning Floridians not to eat raw oysters harvested from an area of the southern tip of Hood Canal in Washington after an outbreak of illness caused by Vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria.  Records indicate that the raw oysters were distributed to Florida.  Raw oysters harvested from “growing area 6” in Hood Canal from July 3, 2007 and after, have caused at least six people to become ill in California and Washington.  No cases linked to this outbreak have been reported in Florida.

{sidebar id=1} Symptoms of the illness, called vibriosis, include watery diarrhea, often with abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, fever, and chills.  Usually these symptoms occur within 24 hours of ingestion and last no more than three days.  Severe disease is rare and occurs most commonly in people with weakened immune systems.  Those who believe they have experienced these symptoms after consuming raw oysters should consult their health care provider and contact their local health department.

The Washington State Department of Health has closed the growing area associated with the illness and has asked commercial oyster harvesters and dealers who obtained oysters from this area to recall them.  Consumers who have recently purchased oysters should check with the place of purchase and ask if they were harvested from the affected growing area.

Those with weakened immune systems, including people affected by AIDS, chronic alcohol abuse, liver, stomach or blood disorders, cancer, diabetes, or kidney disease should avoid eating raw oysters, regardless of where they are harvested.

The FDA advises that consumers can continue to enjoy oysters in many cooked preparations by doing the following:

At Restaurants and other Foodservice Establishments:

  • Order oysters fully cooked.

In the Shell:

  • Purchase oysters with the shells closed.
  • Throw away any oysters with shells already opened.
  • Never allow raw seafood to come into contact with cooked food.
  • Boil oysters until the shells open.  Once shells open, boil for an additional three to five minutes.
  • Steam oysters by adding oysters to water that is already steaming and cook live oysters until the shells open.  Once open, steam for another four to nine minutes.
  • Use smaller pots to boil or steam oysters.  Using larger pots, or cooking too many oysters at one time, may cause uneven heat distribution, which may cause the oysters in the middle to be under-cooked.
  • Discard any oysters that do not open during cooking.

Shucked Oysters:

  • Never allow raw seafood to touch cooked food.
  • Boil or simmer shucked oysters for at least three minutes or until the edges curl.
  • Fry at 375 F for at least three minutes.
  • Broil three inches from heat for three minutes.
  • Bake at 450 F for 10 minutes.

For more information, visit or call 1-888-INFO-FDA.

This article originally published on August 14, 2007.

Mosquito Season is Here!!!

Did you know that the area around your home could be the biggest source of mosquitos?

Ten Things You Can Do to Reduce Mosquitos:

1.    Empty all pans and saucers under potted plants
2.    Eliminate any standing water in the yard and keep the grass mowed
3.    Keep all roof gutters clean of debris
4.    Replace water in pet dishes and animal troughs every day
5.    Discard old tires, or stack flat and keep them covered
6.    Maintain swimming and wading pools
7.    Fill tree holes with sand or cement
8.    Stock natural or man-made ponds with mosquito fish (Gambusia)
9.    Keep boats covered and bilge empty
10.    Keep bird baths, barbecue grills, wheel barrows, etc. overturned or flushed once a week

mosquito photo 125Yards should be checked for mosquito breeding in all of the above locations. A  small amount of water can breed hundreds of mosquito larvae!

Requests for spraying of the chemical pesticide Malathion can be made by alling 926-2558, or by completing a Mosquito Complaint Form online at  Information on Malathion can be obtained from the Mosquito Control Department.


This article originally published on June 15, 2007.

DOH Reminds of the Risks Associated with Consuming Raw Oysters

Officials with the Department of Health (DOH) are urging Floridians with certain health conditions to avoid consuming raw oysters, which often harbor the naturally occurring bacteria Vibrio vulnificus that may cause serious illness.

Wakulla Health Care Task Force Minutes
March 20, 2007

Members Present:  Lynn Artz, Regina Compton, Howard Kessler, Rob Moss, Annette Phelps, Cathy Price, Nell Rozar, Mary Westbrook, Kris Whitten

I.    Welcome & Introductions

II.    Approval of Minutes

The minutes from the Feb 20th meeting were reviewed and approved.

III.    Visitor’s Brochure

The group reviewed the second draft of a brochure intended for visitors who need medical services while in Wakulla County.  The goal is to make this brochure available through local hotels and visitor destinations.

IV.    Responses to Emailed Questions

The group reviewed the responses received from numerous members to 2 questions that had been circulated via email.

“What would most help to improve care for the medically indigent in Wakulla County?”

Of the suggestions offered, there was greatest interest in increasing employer-sponsored health insurance coverage and “a volunteer clinic.”

Rob Moss mentioned that Capital Health Plan (CHP) is offering small businesses a 2-year reduction in premiums if they enroll their employees in CHP.  Annette mentioned that many years ago she knew of a Chamber of Commerce in another state that was able to offer group health insurance for the employees of member businesses.  Lynn Artz recalled a conversation she had with Ross Tucker (who sells group and individual health insurance) when the Task Force first formed.  Tucker had said that small businesses in Franklin County thought they could band together to purchase group insurance at lower cost – and found out they couldn’t do it.

Wal-Mart was identified as one large local employer who may not be providing any or adequate health insurance coverage (though it’s unclear how much autonomy local stores have with respect to health insurance offerings for their employees).

Kris Whitten said she was willing to work at a volunteer clinic.  Mention was made of a similar clinic offered in Tallahassee.  Kris Whitten agreed to further explore this possibility with help from Mary Westbrook.  Annette Phelps and Howard Kessler promised to provide them with helpful information.

Lynn Artz volunteered to pursue the health insurance issue.  Pat Ashley said she was willing to accompany Lynn to a meeting with the manager of Wal-Mart.

“Should the Task Force focus on medical care issues -- or also address broader health issues (e.g., tobacco)?”

There was general agreement that the group should maintain a broad focus and not focus exclusively on medical care.  However, given greater immediate interest in the preceding topics – and a shortage of personnel, the group agreed to back burner their tobacco reduction efforts for now.

V.    Update on Congressional District Healthcare Committee

Group members had requested information about Congressman Boyd’s District Healthcare Committee and its priorities.  Lynn Artz read the list of proposals recently submitted to the District Healthcare Committee by 14 other counties for possible earmark funding.  Almost all were “bricks and mortar” projects focused on medical care services.

Commissioner Brimner has indicated to Lynn Artz that he may be interested in stepping down as the BOCC’s representative to the District Committee.  Commissioner Kessler attended tonight’s meeting to learn more about the group and to consider filling Commissioner Brimner’s position on the District Committee.

VI.    Future of Health Care Task Force & Summer Meetings

The future of the Health Care Task Force was discussed.  It has been difficult to recruit a full slate of officers, let alone future officers.  Attempts to establish working committees have not been fruitful.  There has been little support from the County Commission.  We’ve had good participation from many of the county’s service providers, however, variable attendance makes it difficult to sustain momentum – or even consensus on decisions – from meeting to meeting.

Rob Moss said he felt that while the group had accomplished much, it was unrealistic to expect continued achievement without more support.  Discussion ensued as to the various ways this support might be garnered.

Cathy Price will be going on extended family medical leave.  Lynn Artz indicated that she would prefer not to meet during the summer.  It was agreed that the Task Force would meet in April and May, then take a break until September. Regina Compton agreed to serve as Secretary for the April and May meetings in Cathy’s absence.

VII.    Provider Updates

VIII.    Adjournment

These minutes originally published on April 17, 2007.

April 17 – Wakulla Health Care Task Force Planning Help for Medically Indigent

The Wakulla Health Care Task Force will meet on Tuesday, April 17th at 6:00 p.m. at the Wakulla Public Library.  The group will discuss its plans to help the medically indigent in Wakulla County.  Possible plans include offering a free medical clinic staffed by local volunteers.  Efforts are also being pursued to increase the provision of health insurance coverage by local employers.

All local health care providers, agencies, and businesses are encouraged to attend.  Anyone who wants to improve health and health care in Wakulla County is welcome to attend.  The meeting is open to the public.  For more information, please contact Lynn Artz at 926-8756.

This announcement originally published on April 12, 2007.

A Healthy Weight Is All About Balance

national nutrition month logo 150 Achieving a healthy weight doesn’t come in a “one size fits all” package—everyone’s body is different and lifestyles just aren’t the same from person to person.

The thing to remember is, balance what you eat with what you do.  Following this simple formula allows you to indulge in an afternoon snack or a fabulous dessert once in a while but still remain on the road to wellness.

Here are some simple steps to attaining “mind-over-matter” balance:

Wakulla Health Care Task Force
January 16, 2007

Members Present: Lynn Artz, Regina Compton, Marlon Hunter, Jeff Lawson, Rob Moss, Quin Noles, Joyce Patterson, Lat Penland, Cathy Price, William Tully, Stella Von Troil, Kris Whitten.

Welcome & Introductions

Approval of Minutes

Minutes were not circulated at this meeting.

North Florida Medical Center/Jeff Lawson

The Center will have a full-time physician (Dr. Scott Hansen) beginning the first of February.  Also, currently interviewing PA and ARNP’s for mid-level position.  Also, discussed concern regarding lack of representation on the Board.  Mr. Lawson stated that the Chairperson of the Board is actually a citizen of Wakulla County.  Mr. Lawson agreed to get back with Lynn Artz on the Chairperson’s name and number.

Wakulla Health Care Task Force
Meeting Minutes

November 21, 2006

Members Present:  Lynn Artz, Karen Clevenger, Lisa Hamilton, Lat Penland, Mary Westbrook.

Welcome and Introductions

Karen Clevenger, the new Office Manager for Tallahassee Memorial Family Medicine, was welcomed to the group.

Nominating Committee Discussion  (Mary Westbrook):

Possible candidates for Task Force Co-Chair were named and included Dr. Stella, Allyson McKay, and Lu Stringer.  Lat Penland was mentioned as a possible candidate for Task Force Chair (after he retires).

North Florida Medical Centers (Lat Penland):

Lat Penland drafted a letter from the Task Force to Joel Montgomery of North Florida Medical Centers expressing concern about recent events at Wakulla Medical Center and inviting Mr. Montgomery to our January Task Force meeting.   We discussed the likely impacts of the loss of Dr. Charbonneau and Quinn Noles.  We agreed that Wakulla County needs more involvement on North Florida Medical Centers’ board of directors if our county is going to have any impact on how they operate here. The draft letter was reviewed and approved.  It will be circulated to other Task Force members for review, then mailed to Mr. Montgomery.  We agreed to hold the January meeting in the BOCC Chambers and invite all five County Commissioners to attend.

Sales Tax Initiatives in Neighboring Counties (Lat Penland):

The success and failures of recent sales tax referenda in Leon, Gadsden, and Madison counties were discussed.  Lat Penland will continue to follow these efforts in Leon County.  Lynn Artz will contact Maximo Martinez in Gadsden county for his insights.

Updates & Announcements:

•    Healthy Start will offer free childbirth classes in January and February using a new curriculum.
•    Healthy Start was granted an award for 500 infant car seats but will not receive the car seats until March (rather than in January as expected).
•    Tallahassee Memorial Family Medicine has its new X-Ray machine installed but is waiting for certification.
•    The Wakulla County Health Department recently hired a Chronic Disease Educator:  Melvena Wilson.

Next Meeting:

No meeting in December.

In January, the Task Force will meet on Thursday the 18th (not Tuesday the 16th) in the Wakulla County Commission Chambers (behind the Courthouse) at 6:00 p.m.

Have a Wonderful Holiday Season!

These minutes originally published on December 18, 2006.

Wakulla Health Care Task Force

October 17, 2006

Members Present: Lynn Artz, Richard Huth, Sheryl Mattison, Allyson McKay, Lat Penland, Cathy Price, Lu Stringer, Kris Whitten.

I.      Welcome & Introductions

II.     Approval of Minutes

No changes made to September minutes.

III.    Presentation

Draft plan re: Pneumococcal Immunization (Kris Whitten) Reviewed plan. (Please see attachments). Brainstormed for ways to increase Pneumococcal Vaccination rates for 2006-2007 i.e.: use HMOs as a forum, fliers in grocery store bags, fliers in doctor’s offices/pharmacies, cards for grandparents. Concern expressed that there is a lack of continuity regarding who has had their vaccination. Recommend all providers use FLSHOTS database. Contact Kris Whitten for more information.

IV.    Review Task Force Action Plan

Goal 2.3 (Community Awareness of Local Resources)

Lynn circulated a draft pamphlet with medical resources for hotels to have available for their guest. The pamphlet included local medical facilities, pharmacies and hospitals. Members recommended adding dental, vision, and medical equipment resources. A suggestion was made to put links to web sites ( & Health Department) in the pamphlet for a comprehensive provider list so that the pamphlet can remain one page.      

Goal 1.5 (Sustainable funding for health care services)

Lat Penland reported on ways that other communities have obtained sustainable funding. Lynn requested that Lat and Marlon work on an outline to educate the task force on sustainable funding options and then to make a recommendation with a time-line for the task force to pursue.

Earmark Funding Proposal for Congressman Boyd

The task force needs to identify a proposal. One suggestion was to request funding to promote kids walking to school. Another suggestion was made to request funding for the EMS Station to be rebuilt to hurricane standards. Additional ideas are welcomed. A decision will be made at the November meeting.

V.    Provider Updates

•  Richard Huth/Capital Regional Medical Center:  Construction has been started on the “Capital Regional Health Care in Crawfordville” building and is expected to be completed March 2007.  Services will include primary care, urgent care, lab, and specialty clinic.  The imaging center will be opened at a later time. Richard also requested that members pay attention to Amendment 4 as the American Cancer Society is seeking restoration of the tobacco fund for youth education.

•  Kris Whitten/Wakulla County Health Department: Flu/Pneumococcal Vaccination Shot Clinic to be held at the Wakulla County Senior Citizens Center October 20th.

•  Allyson McCay/TMH Respiratory Care:  Allyson is a health educator that is available to provide services in Wakulla County i.e.; smoking cessation, asthma education.  She uses Freedom from Smoke Curriculum and Open Airways for School curriculum.  Contact Allyson for more information.

•  Lu Stringer/OCCA: Recently took position to address complaints regardingMedicaid HMOs.  She’s also involved with the Healthy Start Infant Mortality Review who is currently promoting “Back to Sleep” in order to prevent infant deaths.

•  Lynn Artz/Health Care Task Force:  The task force had a display for Tobacco Prevention at the Annual Youth Summit on October 7th.

•  Sheryl Mattison/Senior Center Transportation:  The Senior Center was approved for “Transportation for the Disadvantaged”.  Also, in process of purchasing a wheelchair van.

IV.    Other

Discussion regarding resignation of Dr. Charbonneau and Quin Noles, ARNP from the Wakulla Medical Center in Panacea.  A concern was expressed that the Medical Center Board lacks membership from our community; therefore, no one is advocating for our county.  Contact Lat Penland for more information.

VII.    Meeting Adjourned

These minutes originally published on October 23, 2006.   

Wakulla Health Care Task Force

September 19, 2006

Members Present:  Tomica Archie-Smith, Lynn Artz, Pat Ashley, Fran Council, Mel Gaston, Marlon Hunter, David Keen, Lynn Maxwell, Cathy Price, Debbie Reich, Edie Rowell, Lu Stringer, Stella Von Troil, William Tully, Mary Westbrook

I.      Welcome and Introductions

II.     Approval of Minutes

No changes made to August minutes.

III.    Wakulla County Youth Summit Presentation

Wakulla County Coalition for Youth is sponsoring the 1st Annual Youth Summit on Substance Abuse Prevention October 7th, 2006, 10:00 AM to 2:00PM at Riversprings Middle School. Any agencies or vendors interested in participating or contributing financially, contact Yvonne Woodard at 926-0024.

IV.    Presentation on Emergency Medical Services (EMS)

Fran Council described plans and vision for EMS in Wakulla. County Commissioners are currently working on the County budget which includes funding for EMS. Items in the budget include: a third EMS station located in Eastern Wakulla, 2 supervisor positions, second truck for Crawfordville station, and remodeling Crawfordville station. Future goals include: improving the billing process, improving safety for employees (i.e. automated stretchers, stair chairs), providing community education, and building a pool of paramedics in preparation for disaster. A long term goal is to completely rebuild Crawfordville Station to meet hurricane building standards and to adequately house responders during time of disaster.

EMS recently obtained 2 stair chairs from the Rotary Club and one stair chair from a grant. Also, a mobile tower for emergency backup was obtained through grant funding.

EMS is currently offering a paramedic scholarship as a way to increase interest in the profession. Fran Council also stated that she plans to teach an EMT class at TCC in the near future.

V.    Presentation: Pneumococcal Immunization Draft Plan


VI.    Tobacco Data

Presentation by Debbie Reich:  Please see attachment.

Tobacco Control Five Year Plan: Presentation by Lynn Artz:  Please see attachment.

VII.    Draft Time Line of Task Force Activities

Presentation by Lynn Artz:  Please see attachment.

VIII.   Provider Updates

•   Marlon Hunter/Wakulla County Health Department reported that in the near future the health department will be receiving general revenue funds to create a full-time position to address chronic disease issues within the county. This position’s job description will include active involvement in the Health Care Task Force.

•  Pat Ashley announced that the Alzheimer Resource Center of Tallahassee is sponsoring the “2006 Walk for Caregivers” November 4th from 10:00AM to 2:00PM at Southwood. For more information call (850) 561-6869 or go to

•  Mel Gaston/Tallahassee Orthopedic Clinic announced that beginning in October he will provide orthopedic spine care at the Wakulla Urgent Care office on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month. He will begin working only half days with the option of expanding as needed.

•  Edie Rowell/NHC Homecare announced that the Crawfordville Office won the “Home Care of the Year Award for 2005”.

•   Dr Keen announced expanding his services to Primary Care in addition to the Urgent Care services already being provided. Most insurance are accepted.

•   Dr. Von Troil introduced herself as the new physician at Wakulla Family Medicine who also works at Wakulla County Health Department two days per week. She expressed special interest in Chronic Disease and a special desire to address “Obesity”. She also expressed concern, based on interaction with patients, on issues related to MRSA and Personal Hygiene.

•   Mary Westbrook/Healthy Start announced Parent Class being held September 28th from 9:00AM to 11:00PM at the Wakulla County Health Department. The TMH Neuroscience Center will present on Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Prevention. Healthy Start is also working on two grant proposals: 1) Car Seat Program 2) Community Wide Baby Shower.

•  A Time to Change Counseling Center is now accepting referrals for children with Medicaid. For more information, call 926-1900.

IX.    Meeting Adjourned

These minutes originally published on October 18, 2006.  

Wakulla Health Care Task Force Begins 2nd Year

The Wakulla Health Care Task Force will kick off its second year onTuesday, September 19th at the Wakulla Public Library.  The group will outline its action plans for the year.

Current and new members will meet and network over hors d'ouevres beginning at 5:30 p.m.  The business meeting will begin at 6:00 p.m.  The meeting will include important updates.

All local health care providers, agencies, and businesses are encouraged to attend.  Anyone who wants to improve health and health care in Wakulla County is welcome to attend.  The meeting is open to the public.

Information about the group can be found online at the Wakulla County Health Department website at and at (select "Community", then "Health and Fitness").  For
more information, please contact Lynn Artz at 926-8756 or Cathy Price at 926-7125 (ask for the WHS Clinic).

This article originally published on September 10, 2006.


Wakulla Health Care Task Force

August 15, 2006

Members Present:  Tomica Archie-Smith, Lynn Artz, Jo Barksdale, Sheryl Mattison, Rob Moss, Cathy Price, Mary Westbrook, Kris Whitten.

I.    Welcome and Introductions

Lynn Artz welcomed everyone to the meeting.  Each person introduced themselves and their respective agency.

II.    Announcements and Updates

•  Construction on the Wakulla Health and Imaging Center began this week.

•  Wakulla County Transportation expressed the need for providers to encourage patients to request transportation services at least 48 hours in advance.

•  Healthy Start will offer a Parent Class on August 24th from 9a.m.-11a.m. at the Wakulla County Health Department.  The subject is on Interconceptual Care. The class is open to the public.

•  Wakulla County Health Department announced two new Dental programs that will be offered in the near future.  Free Periodontal Health Evaluations/Treatment for pregnant women and School Fluoride Rinse to all students in elementary and middle schools one time per week.  Also, the Health Department is currently working with local daycares by providing Pre-Flu classes, as well as, working with TMH in educating School Athletic Departments on “MRSA”.

•  Capital Area Healthy Start reported hiring a Pregnancy Health Coordinator with funds from the State March of Dimes Grant.  The Coordinator will provide education to Leon and outlying counties.  Some of the issues that will be addressed include pre-term labor, periodontal care, interconceptual care, and infant mortality.  Currently, the Health Coordinator is working on “Healthy Smile Kit” to increase the awareness of the link between pre-term labor and periodontal care.  Another project is underway by providing “Bassinets for Babies” at the hospitals in order to discourage co-sleeping and decrease infant mortality.  Presentations will be available to community organizations upon request.

•  The X-Ray unit is almost completed at Tallahassee Memorial Family Medicine.

•  Classes are being offered for Alzheimer’s caregivers in rural areas by telephone on a weekly basis.  Classes will provide education and support.  Contact number is

•  Apalchee Center for Human Services moved to an office at Big Bend Workforce Center.  Services are limited to high-risk patients.  Access to a psychiatrist is not available to low income and/or non-insured patients who do not meet the “high risk” criteria.  Patients have to rely on Primary Care Physicians and/or emergency room for psychotropic needs.

•  Fluoridation of public water continues to be addressed by several members of the task force.  An update will be available at a later time.

•  Franklin County Health Council voted to disband and plan to re-group as a freestanding community action group in several months.

III.    New Business

•  Members will be contacted by email 1-2 weeks prior to each meeting for a “Call for Agenda Items”.  A reminder notice of the meeting and the Agenda will be emailed several days prior to the scheduled meeting.

•  Identification of Priorities:  Reviewed and discussed County data on major causes of death.  The three main issues identified included:  maternal and child health, alcohol related accidents, and tobacco.  After much discussion, it was decided to narrow the priorities to only one issue.  Members agreed to focus on tobacco as the task force’s long-term goal.  A suggestion was made to set an attainable short-term goal for the time being by focusing on,  “increasing pneumococcal rates for citizens age 65 and over and/or with chronic disease”.  Members were in agreement.

IV.    Plan

•  Mail out an informational package to all area health care providers.

•  Send out press releases for upcoming task force meetings.

•  Identify strategies for short term and long-term goals.

V.    Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned by Lynn Artz at 8:00 p.m.  The next meeting will be September 19th at 6:00 p.m. Horsdoeuvres will be served from 5:30 - 6:00.

This information originally published on September 10, 2006.


Wakulla Health Care Task Force

June 20, 2006

Members Present:  Lynn Artz, Kathleen Bailey, Jo Barksdale, JoAnn Green, Marlon Hunter, Sheryl Mattison, Dr. Dennis Mooney, Mary Mooney, Rob Moss, Lat Penland, Annette Phelps, Cathy Price, Nell Rozar, Martin Shipman, Mary Westbrook.

I.    Welcome, Introductions, and Updates

Lynn Artz welcomed everyone to the meeting.  Each person introduced themselves and their respective agency.

▪   Healthy Start will offer Parent Classes at the Health Department beginning June 22nd. Infant CPR and Safe Baby Class will be provided by Red Cross at the first meeting.

▪   Tallahassee Diagnostic Imaging (TDI) was recently approved for HealthEase HMO. Physicians in Wakulla and Leon County have been notified. TDI is also actively involved in the Heart Walk which is sponsored by the American Heart Association. The community/businesses are encouraged to participate and prepare for next year’s activity.

▪   Wakulla County Health Department completed first phase of the mobile unit which will be used for dental services, community outreach, and/or emergency response. The second phase will involve retrofitting the inside of the unit. The Health Department has also received $70,000 from DOH to research the possibility of becoming a pilot program for “Teledentistry”.

▪   TMH was congratulated for its recent nomination for the “Chambers of Commerce Award” due to the services they’ve provided and active involvement in the community.  It was also announced that TMH recently hired a physician, Dr. Von Troil,  to provide services at Wakulla Family Medicine four days per week and also for the Health Department two half days per week.  TMH applied for a Telemedicine Grant which will assist in decreasing travel to Tallahassee by allowing follow up and consultation with specialists.  Members of the task force provided letters of support.  TMH should be notified of the award by August.

▪   Wakulla County Transportation received a slight increase in Medicaid funding.  Nell Rozar and RH Carter researched the suggestion made about the KidOne program.  Pros and cons have been identified.  DOT will not allow current vehicles to be utilized due to strict regulations, however, stated that the program can purchase a separate vehicle on their own to transport non-Medicaid consumers.  Nell said they attempted this program several years ago but could not obtain enough support from the business community.  The KidOne program will continue to be considered as an option for future transportation needs.  Due to perception that transportation needs are not being net, Nell requested providers to encourage patients to contact her with concerns so individual issues can be addressed and/or resolved.  A suggestion was made that local physicians be contacted individually to educate them of the service and to address concerns.  TDI offered to assist with the no show rates by reminding patients when they are called to confirm their appointment that they will be transported by the Senior Center.  Nell can get with TDI with the names of patients that are scheduled to utilize the service.

▪   Tallahassee Orthopedic Clinic is researching the possibility of having a satellite office in the county.  Cost effective options are being considered, including partnership with other specialists.

▪   Dr. and Mrs. Mooney passed out a flier requesting support for the National Children’s Study.  Please see attachment.

II.    Approval of Minutes

The May 16th minutes were reviewed and approved.  A spelling correction and a change in the wording under the Transportation section were made.  Please see attached minutes.

III.    Update on Fluoridation of Public Water

Dr. and Mrs. Mooney reported that Sopchoppy is receptive to the idea of adding Fluoride to the water.  The Mooney’s are currently doing research in order to apply for a DOH grant to assist in the expense of designing and developing injection sites.  Sopchoppy’s water system is the largest in the county and serves approximately 7800 people.  According to Lat Penland, the City of Tallahassee supplies water with fluoride to households in Northeast Crawfordville.  The actual coverage area is unknown but expected to increase with future construction in that area.  Talquin also supplies water to the county but does not support fluoride in the water.  A suggestion was made to contact the Pediatric Foundation and/or physicians to inform them of the fluoride status in Wakulla and to encourage them to screen patients so that preventative measures can be taken.  It was also suggested that the Health Department provide written information to parents based on birth certificate data.  Marlon stated the Health Department can provide such information.  Marlon also plans to discuss the fluoride issue with county commissioners.  Lynn plans to contact Dr. Easley for factual data regarding fluoridation.

IV.    Strategic Plan Report

Lat Penland researched and presented data for Goal 4-Improve Selected Health Outcomes.  Data indicated the following health concerns in our county:  oral health, tobacco use, infant mortality, low birth weight, stroke, congestive heart failure, lung cancer, racial disparities, and alcohol related motor vehicle accidents.

V.    Plan

Between now and August the members of the task force will be requested by email to prioritize health issues.  Also, once the issues have been narrowed down, members will be asked to provide information on what is already being done in the community to address the issues.  The Task Force is interested in building onto current resources rather than duplicating services.

VI.    Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned by Lynn Artz.  The next meeting will be August 15th.

Originally published on July 25, 2006.


Wakulla Health Care Task Force

May 16, 2006

Members Present:  Lynn Artz, Jo Barksdale, Ed Brimner, R.H. Carter, JoAnn Green, Richard Huth, Warren Jones, Marlon Hunter, Sheryl Mathison, Dennis Mooney, Mary Mooney, Lat Penland, William Tully, Mary Westbrook, Kris Whitten

I.    Welcome, Introductions and Updates

Lynn Artz welcomed everyone to the meeting.  Each person introduced themselves and their respective agency.  Lynn stated that Cathy Price would be out one more meeting and Jo Barksdale would continue to do the minutes until Cathy’s return.

•    TDI finally received their Medicare accreditation.  The gifts on the sign-in table were compliments of TDI.

•    The Wakulla County Health Department has a new Environmental Health Director, Padraic Juarez.  He is a Registered Environmental Health Specialist.

•    Tallahassee Memorial Family Medicine announced the arrival of Dr. Von Troll (who will also spend two half days working at the Health Department).

•    TMH has a traumatologist.

•    Lat Penland provided an update on the Low-Income Pool monies.  Our county will not be receiving any of these funds.

•    Kris Whitten, with WCHD, stated that Tallahassee Memorial Family Medicine and Wakulla Medical Center are getting on board with the Florida Shots Registry.  Shot records will be accessible for both private providers and other state providers.

II.    Approval of Minutes

The minutes from the April 18th meeting were reviewed and approved.

III.    Strategic Planning

Lat Penland led a brief discussion of Goals 2 and 3.  With respect to Goal 3, the question arose as to how the task force will know when a goal has been achieved.  ransportation seems to be surfacing as a big issue that might be added to the goals or take the place of the Goal 3.

Lynn Artz asked for volunteers to work on specific areas of the strategic plan.  Lat Penland volunteered to work on section 4.1 of Goal 4, Improve Selected Health Outcomes.  He will propose possible risk factor and health status objectives for Wakulla County.  Lynn suggested Debbie Reich for 4.2.

IV.    Transportation for Medical Services

R.H. Carter, from the Senior Center, and Nell Rozar, with the Wakulla County Transportation program gave a brief overview of the transportation program.  Any county resident without a car may schedule roundtrip transportation for medical care in Wakulla County ($2) or in Tallahassee ($5).  The biggest issue is funding.  Funding is so low that they often run out and the Senior Center donates money to help transport people to medical appointments.  The new Medicaid rules have made things very difficult.  Clients have to have asked family, friends and neighbors before Medicaid will pay for the needed transportation to medical appointments.  Although the program is doing a terrific job with scarce funds, provider’s perception is that the public’s needs are yet to be met.  The task force may try to find ways to help increase funding for the transportation program.

Lynn Artz presented information on KidOne Transport, a program in another state that provides free transportation to medical care for pregnant women and children.  One way they raise funds is through corporate sponsorships.  Businesses pay to display their business names and logos on the vehicles.  In 2005, KidOne raised 22% of their ~$2 million budget through corporate sponsors.  Lynn suggested that Wakulla County Transportation Program may want to explore doing something similar.  Nell expressed concern the DOT would allow them to put logos on vehicle windows.

V.    Other Business

Dr. and Ms. Mooney raised the issue of tooth decay and dental health in Wakulla County.  Much of the discussion focused on fluoridation.  None of the public water supplies that serve Wakulla County are fluoridated.  Lat Penland recommended a resource at the State Health Department.  Dr. Mooney and Marlon Hunter agreed to work together to try to get fluoride added to the Sopchoppy public water supply. Commissioner Brimner noted that the County operates a small water system and seemed interested in making this a model though relatively few children would benefit.  He will explore the costs of fluoridating the County’s public water supply.  There was also discussion about the need to increase fluoride treatments in the public schools.  Lynn Artz thanked the Mooney’s for their valuable input and encouraged them to continue to participate in the task force.

VI.    Summer Meetings

The group discussed whether to continue to meet monthly through the summer.  The decision was made to skip the July meeting but continue with all the other months.  The next meeting will be June 20th at 6:00 pm.

VII.    Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned by Lynn Artz.

Originally published on July 25, 2006.


Wakulla Health Task Force—Strategic Plan           DRAFT 3

Vision:  Healthy residents and visitors in healthy communities with access to needed health care and related services.

Mission:  The Wakulla Health Task Force works with interested individuals and organizations to improve access to a comprehensive health system and to improve to overall health outcomes for residents and visitors.

Motto:   Wakulla a healthy place to live work and play.

Goals: 1.  Improve access to routine primary health care in Wakulla County.
             2.  Improve urgent and emergency medical services.
             3.  Improve access to diagnostic services and other procedures.
             4.  Improve selected health outcomes.


Goal 1  Improve access to routine primary health care in Wakulla County.

             1.1  Determine a mechanism to address transportation issues for 
                     disadvantaged population.  (Steps:  Find out what fund sources exist to care for
                     this issue.  Work with the faith community to determine if they have vehicles that
                     are underutilized during weekdays and might be a resource to the greater
                     community. )

             1.2  Ongoing needs assessment regarding health care needs and offerings in the
                     county.  (Steps:  Engage students or other interested entities in this process.
                     Seek grant funding as appropriate.  Find out what designation as manpower
                     shortage area would do to assist us in garnering funds or professionals to serve
                     the under- or un-insured population.  Determine how local businesses can play a
                     role in perhaps expanding services from just employees to families.)

             1.3  Develop a directory of available services and have it available via web and printed
                     copy.  (Steps:  Assess what kinds of directories already exist and determine need
                     to augment them.  Work with and other outlets for publication.
                     Determine whether or not phone directory, volunteer groups such as fire
                     auxiliaries, and realtors will assist in getting this information to the public.)

             1.4  Work with providers to publicize available services and support the use of
                     local services.  (Steps:  Letters to the editor as appropriate.  Advertising
                     as budgets allow—perhaps with focus group input on how the various media
                     work with the population targets.  Work with local media for continuing coverage
                     of newsworthy events.)

             1.5  Evaluate potential sustainable sources of funds for health care in the county.
                     (Steps:   Work with interested parties and the county commission on an
                     evaluation of potential resources ranging from grants to governmental financing

Goal 2  Improve urgent and emergency medical services.

              2.1  Evaluate needs for emergency services. (Steps:  Survey existing responders and
                      agencies to determine resources and needs.  Seek grants and other funding for
                      implementation and augmentation of resources.  Determine training needs for
                      general public and volunteer providers and help to assure needed training is

              2.2  Regularly review reports of emergency services usage and costs.  (Steps:  Work
                      with county government in looking at sustainable funding, needs, efficiency of
                      service delivery and assist in plan development.)

              2.3  Assure that the community is aware of local resources. (Steps:  With the advent
                      of more urgent care facilities and resources, make sure that Realtors, Hotels,
                      Rental Agents, and others who interface with transient populations are aware of
                      the available options in county.  Develop informational flyer that gives options for
                      placement in rental packets or in rooms.)

              2.4  Continuously review volume of urgent and emergency care usage for
                      sustainability and determine whether or not the facilities can serve dual
                      purposes.  (Steps:  Evaluate diversion programs for emergency room usage.
                      Work with EMS to improve response times.  Look for grants to improve high risk
                      transport.  Improve public education on use of emergency versus urgent care
                      usage.  Explore the connections to potential trauma centers under consideration
                      for development.)

Goal 3  Improve access to diagnostic services and other procedures.

              3.1  Use needs assessment data, provider, and citizen input to evaluate needs and
                      mechanisms for increasing available local services.  (Steps:  Providers will
                      report to the task force on their ideas and responses they have to their services)

              3.2  Promote the information about available services as noted in 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3.

              3.3  Explore other barriers to care. (Steps:  Determine role of transportation
                      limitations and potential ways to improve that access step.  Look at any potential
                      issues of other disparities.)

Goal 4  Improve selected health outcomes.

              4.1  Select a set of health outcomes that if improved would indicate a healthier
                      county, save dollars, and influence individual self health care management.
                      (Steps:  Review Florida CHARTS and other sources of data for those indicators
                      in which Wakulla is below reference county in outcomes.  Utilize studies done by
                      FSU and others as appropriate.  Determine which outcomes are amenable to
                      change with the resources available.)

              4.2  Garner local partnerships to engage individuals in healthier life styles and
                      reduce risk taking behaviors.  (Steps:  Assess which volunteer groups, agencies,
                      businesses and others would have an interest in participation.  Determine what
                      resources are available to address the items selected in 4.1 and obtain grants
                      or other supports as needed.  Develop a Healthy Wakulla Citizens group.
                      Determine what incentives might help sustain activities.  Celebrate successes
                      publicly.  Utilize volunteers for programs like Smoking Cessation Support—Lynn
                      Artz has volunteered to offer some of these support services.  Work especially
                      with youth through high school and other associations for a “keys to the future”
                      concept perhaps tying into the TCC Wakulla campus.  Do real simulations of
                      consequences of high risk behavior and engage students in examining the
                      situation.  Look at ways to tie into graduation planning for engaging students and
                      families.  Build on other initiatives such as Wakulla Walks, Relay for Life,
                      WOMAN Challenge, Step Up, Florida!, and develop an annual calendar of events
                      by month for focus with an established speakers bureau.  Tap into ways to reach
                      the population where they naturally gather, finding the teachable moments and
                      making the message into manageable small dose units.)

Wakulla Health Care Task Force

March 21, 2006

Members Present:  Lynn Artz, Kathleen Bailey, Jo Barksdale, Jerry Combass, Judy Greenwald, Marlon Hunter, Royce Jackson, David Keen, Suzanne Marrotte, Rick Parks, Lat Penland, Annette Phelps, Dave Pierce, Louise Sloan, Jody Smith, William Tully

I.     Welcome and Introductions

Lynn Artz welcomed everyone.  She noted that Cathy Price would be on family medical leave until May 1st.  The Task Force decided to buy a fruit basket for Cathy Price and her family.

II.    Approval of Minutes

Lynn Artz asked for a volunteer to record minutes until Cathy Price returns. Jo Barksdale volunteered. The minutes from the February 21st meeting were approved with minor changes to the section on “District Health Care Council Meeting and Funding Requests.”

III.   Updates

         A.  Disproportionate Share (DSH) Low Income Pool (LIP) Distribution
(Ed Brimner)

              Marlon Hunter spoke in the absence of Commissioner Brimner.  He covered the
              highlights of this program and the availability of funds for rural health.  There are
              funds, which could be distributed to help provide services to the low income,
              uninsured and under insured members of the community.  Mr. Hunter stated that
              Commissioner Brimner did a great job of lobbying for matching funds on behalf of
              rural counties.  We may receive a portion of the low-income pool money that is
              available.  However, as these funds must be sought yearly, the Health Department
              will use the funds for preventive services rather than physician services as originally
              suggested by Commissioner Brimner.

              Mr. Hunter noted that some counties around the state of Florida have imposed a one
              half-cent sales tax for health care.  Discussion followed regarding the possibility of
              this in Wakulla County.  Lynn Artz commented that this was part of our District funding
              proposal and that Commissioner Brimner might support a sales tax if it were
              earmarked for something specific such as EMS.  It was noted by Mr. Jackson that our
              county allocates relatively little funding for healthcare compared to other counties.  In
              his recent survey of counties, Wakulla was on the bottom of the list for healthcare
              funding.  Mr. Hunter stated that he would include this information when he goes
              before the board of county commissioners.  More discussion followed concerning
              sustainable funding.  Mr. Hunter will lead a committee to identify more opportunities
              for sustainable funding to serve the health care needs in Wakulla County.   Lat
              Penland agreed to serve on this committee.

        B.  Provider & Agency Updates

             1.  Wakulla Urgent Care and Diagnostic Center - Dr. Keen stated that they are
                  officially open for business as an after hours care facility.  They are open from
                  3:00-11:00 pm, Monday through Friday.  They also offer lab services during the
                  day.  X- ray will soon be available. I t is his desire to see patients on an episodic
                  basis.  If the patient does not have a primary care physician, he will refer them to
                  one.  If a patient has a primary care physician, he will send treatment information to
                  the primary physician the next day.  [He recalled that in his primary care practice,
                  patients would go to an ER or urgent care and it might be months until he learned
                  about the treatment they had received.]  Dr. Keen also plans to incorporate a small
                  pharmacy so patients who receive treatment after local pharmacies close will not
                  have to drive to Tallahassee or wait until the next day.  Presently Capital Health
                  Plan has given an unofficial agreement to cover treatment for patients in need of
                  urgent care.

             2.  Wakulla County Health Department - Marlon Hunter introduced the new Director of
                  Nursing, Jody Smith, who came to us from Eden Springs.  He also introduced Jerry
                  Combass and Jo Barksdale, as representatives of the WCHD.  Mr. Hunter
                  announced that the WCHD had developed a partnership with TMH, to provide a
                  doctor at the health department one day a week.  The doctor will focus on the
                  present services provided by the health department, with the hope of continuing
                  and expanding this relationship in the future.

            3.  TMH reported that they are still working on providing x ray services locally.  Also,
                 TMH is going forward with a Regional Trauma Center Application.

            4.  Tallahassee Diagnostic Imaging reported stated that they had been open since
                 January, but they were having some credentialing issues.  They have been
                 inspected.  The inspectors want to speak to each and every radiologist.  At this
                 point, they cannot take any Medicaid or Medicare.  Healthcare Southeast is still in
                 the works. They reported that they have had good support from the transportation
                 program.  They have even had patients from Franklin County.  It was also reported
                 that many letters have been sent out to providers.

           5.  Dr. Dave Pierce reported on Franklin County.  He stated that Weems Hospital is not
                closing.  He mentioned that there is talk of a new hospital in Carrabelle.  He also
                stated that a new highway from Tallahassee to Panama City is being fast tracked for
                hurricane evacuation.  It will go directly through Sopchoppy.

IV.  Old Business.

           1.  Lynn Artz reported that EMS obtained grant funding for upgraded radios and the
                County agreed to provide the required 75-25 match.  The county also authorized
                Fran Council of EMS to apply for three additional grants that will require 10-25%
                matches totaling up to $48,750.  These grants seek funding for a) a new
                ambulance, b) an auto pulse CPR device, and c) a stair chair and upgraded

           2.  The Wakulla News mentioned a site plan application for a new HCA medical facility
                on U.S. Hwy 319 south of Bridal Gate.  According to Kathy Shirah, the ~13,000
                square foot facility will have 8000 sq. ft. for imaging services, 3000 sq. ft. for
                pediatrics, and the remainder for other medical offices.  It will include a new office
                for Dr. Frable.

           3.  Lynn Artz sent the letter about new medical services in the county to The Wakulla
                News.  It was published as a letter to the editor.  She sent a similar letter to the
                county’s physicians.

V.   Strategic Planning – Vision, Mission, & Goals (Annette Phelps)

Annette Phelps reviewed the draft that she had produced.  The group discussed the draft and suggested a number of changes.  Annette will circulate a new draft that incorporates those suggestions.  Everyone is to send her ideas for a motto.

VI.  By Laws (Debbie Reich)

Members were asked to also review the draft of the bylaws and either email suggestions to Lynn or bring ideas to the next meeting.

VII. Other New Business

          A.  Diabetic Clinic  (Chris Toelle)

               Dr. Keen reported for Chris Toelle.  He stated that Rehab Engineering is doing
               Diabetic Feet Exams once a month at Dr. Keen’s Urgent Care office.  This will also
               offer health education.  Marlon Hunter stated that the Health Department also does a
               Diabetic Clinic on Tuesdays.  There might be some areas for linking the programs.

         B.  School Board Wellness Policy (Rick Parks)

               Rick stated that the school wellness program involves the WIC program, school
               nutrition, after school snacks and meal services.  This year the schools have to
               produce an umbrella wellness policy.  Applications for grants will not be approved
               without a wellness policy in place.  They are also encouraging partnering for a
               countywide, school wide policy planning.  It was mentioned that Beth O’Donnell had
               a meeting scheduled to address this topic on March 30 at 8:30.  Other discussion

         C.  Pan Flu Preparation for County  (Annette Phelps and Marlon Hunter)

               Jerry Combass discussed the various educational presentations that had been
               given related to the Pan Flu.  There was a Governor’s Summit on February 16.  There
               are satellite downloads on the computer for people to receive information and also
               he welcomes requests for presentations on the Pandemic Flu.  The presentation
               takes two hours and you need ten or more people.  Discussion followed related to
               incorporating flu preparations with the emergency planning.

         D.  Resource List  (Jo Barksdale)

               Tabled to next month.

VIII. Proposal for Next Meeting

Lynn discussed the possibility of breaking into action-oriented work groups next month.

IX.   Adjourn

Wakulla Health Care Task Force

April 18, 2006

Members Present:   Lynn Artz,  Jo Barksdale, Regina Compton, Cheryl Daniel, Bob Frable, JoAnn Green, Judy Greenwald, Lisa Hamilton, Richard Huth, Warren Jones, Rob Moss, Quin Noles, Lat Penland, Annette Phelps, Jody Smith, William Tully, Mary Westbrook, Bryan Workman

I.     Welcome and Introductions

Lynn Artz welcomed everyone.  The thank you note from Cathy Price  (thanking the task force for the fruit basket she received) was passed around.

II.    Approval of Minutes

Jo Barksdale requested a careful review of the minutes.  The March 21st meeting minutes were approved.

III.   Updates

       A.  Healthy Start – Mary Westbrook informed members of the child birth classes given at
            the Health Department by Healthy Start.  The next class will be April 25th – May 16th.
            Parenting classes are also given on a monthly basis with the next one on April 27th.
            Both the parenting classes and the child birth classes are free and run from 9 - 11am.

      B.  Option Care – Lisa Hamilton reviewed the services offered by her company which
            include respiratory services, durable medical equipment, infusion pharmacy, and
            home oxygen.  These services are very cost effective and helpful to patients who can
            be treated at home.

      C.  Low Income Pool Funding – Lynn Artz stated that Commissioner Brimner had done a
            great job of getting money set aside for rural counties.  However, the money set aside
            will likely be available through a grant program rather than as a match.

      D.  Wakulla County Health Department – The health department has been gearing up for
            hurricane season and an influenza pandemic.  Education programs are available to
            whoever would be interested..

      E.  TMH – A new physician has been found.  She is a 2004 graduate and will work one
            day a week at the health department.  The new x-ray services should be functional by

      F.  TDI – Medicare approval is almost complete for the new MRI services.  Very Close.

      G.  Wakulla Urgent Care – Dr. Keen’s new facility in Panacea is open and functioning.  He
            provides after hours care and diagnostic services.

      H.  Wakulla Medical Center – Quin Noles reported that Dr. Gene soon would be working
            full-time at the medical center.  He has been working part-time in Franklin County but
            East Point has finally hired a physician.  Within a week or two, Wakulla Medical Center
            will be functioning close to planned capacity.

IV.   Presentation on New Facility -- Richard Huth, Capital Regional Medical

The new office complex will be  “one stop shopping for healthcare in Wakulla County.”  It will include:

    •    Office for Dr. Frable  (~2500 sq. ft.)
    •    Walk-in Clinic (~2500 sq. ft.; open 10 am – 8 pm, Mon.- Fri., 8 am - 4 pm Sat.)
    •    Laboratory
    •    Imaging Center (~ 6000 sq. ft.; MRI, CT, X-ray, ultrasound) + woman’s imaging center
    •    Time-share office for specialists (4-hour blocks).  The following groups have indicated
          interest:  Cardiology, Orthopedics, ENT, General Surgery, Oncology, Podiatry).  Others
          such as Pulmonary will be approached.

The facility will to be located near Bridal Gate subdivision. The building will encompass 13,000 square feet and will be a southern, Florida Beach design with a wrap around porch and a metal roof.  May 12th is the projected date for the site plan.   December is the projected opening date.

Mr. Huth was asked if same day surgery had been considered or might be offered.  Mr. Huth said the county could not support such a service at this time.  A question was asked related to services that will benefit the medically indigent.  Mr. Huth stated that this issue has not been addressed.

Mr. Huth complimented the group for their work.  He said this type of group has been very instrumental in other communities that he has been working in.  Lynn Artz encouraged Mr. Huth and Dr. Frable to attend Task Force meetings and join the efforts of the group.

V.   Strategic Planning

       A.  Vision, Mission, & Goals (Annette Phelps)

            Annette Phelps reviewed with the group the second draft of the strategic plan.  She
            incorporated last month’s ideas into the mission, vision, motto and goals.  The group
            thought the new versions reflected their input.

      B.  Discussion Groups

            The members of the task force then divided into four small groups – one group for
            each goal in the strategic plan – to review and brainstorm the proposed strategies.

            1.  Primary Care – This group stated that the Wakulla Medical Center was providing a
                 great service in Panacea for getting healthcare to the uninsured and underinsured.
                 This one facility cannot do it all, however.  It was suggested that the County should
                 support We Care.  The other area affecting primary care physicians is
                 transportation.  Medicaid patients, the uninsured and underinsured often cannot get
                 transportation to appointments.  If they do get transportation, it is usually late, or
                 they have to pay $25.00 just to get to the doctor.

           2.  Urgent and Emergency Medical Services - This group discussed the needs and
                strategies for addressing urgent and emergency medical services in the county.
                There has been progress towards meeting the urgent care needs.  We now have
                one urgent care facility operating and another opening in the near future.  We need
                to publicize the availability of these services and location of these facilities to
                residents and visitors through realtors, businesses, and tourist sites and services. 
                Expanding the capacity of our EMS and improving response time remains a top
                priority.  New emergency equipment is being acquired with grant funds.  More grant
                funding and county funding should be pursued to add a third EMS station in Wakulla
                Station and a second ambulance and crew in Crawfordville.  More education and
                training for EMS workers will soon be available through TMH related to their
                becoming a Regional Trauma Center.

          3.  Diagnostic Services - This group felt that this goal had been met with all the new
               diagnostic services opening in the community.  They recommended setting a goal to
               address transportation for medical services instead.  There are many issues related
               to transportation.  For example, it is very difficult to plan around the one or two buses
               that travel to Tallahassee, for primary, specialist and diagnostic appointments.  It is
               the hope of this group that the people in charge of transportation will begin to work
               with local businesses in planning transportation.

          4.  Health Outcomes – It is the desire of this group to make this county a healthy
               county.  We want to look at more than CHARTS data.  Education is needed related to
               injuries (hunting, ATVs, drowning) and underage drinking.  We need to partner with
               civic and other community groups and use social marketing.  We should build on
               what’s in place (e.g., Step Up Florida, Wakulla Walks), offer simulations at schools,
               create a speaker’s bureau, and pursue other opportunities to educate community
               members to change unhealthy behaviors and live healthily.

Following the presentations from each group, Annette said she would incorporate these ideas into the next draft of the strategic plan.  She said she appreciated everyone’s ideas, that this is truly a work in progress.  

VI.  By Laws (Debbie Reich)

Members were asked to also review the draft of the bylaws and either email suggestions to Lynn or bring ideas to the next meeting.

VII. Other Business

Lynn Artz asked if members wanted to meet during the summer.  Some members were hoping for a summer break.  Others thought we should continue to meet.  We will decide this in May.

VIII. Next Meeting

The next meeting will be Tuesday, May 16, at 6:00 pm. at the Wakulla County Library.

IX.   Adjourn

This article originally published on May 9, 2006.


Wakulla County Will Benefit from
Added Medical Services

The Wakulla Health Care Task Force welcomes the addition of needed medical services to our county.  Local residents will soon have convenient access to Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), X-rays, Dexa (bone density) scans, and ultrasounds.  Access to laboratory and after-hours medical care is increasing as well.  These new services will help to address the top medical needs that our Task Force identified this past year: 1) after-hours, urgent, and emergency medical care, and 2) diagnostic services, particularly imaging but also laboratory services.

Tallahassee Diagnostic Imaging (TDI) is leasing space at the Tallahassee Memorial Family Medicine office in Crawfordville.  They have already begun to offer the same quality MRIs that are available in Tallahassee and these scans are read by the same radiologists.  All of the staff at their new location are long-time TDI employees.  They are also all Wakulla County residents who are grateful for the chance to work closer to home.

On March 1st, Dr. David Keen, former Director of the Wakulla County Health Department, will open the Wakulla Urgent Care and Diagnostic Center in Panacea (in the former location of the Wakulla Medical Center).  Laboratory services (such as blood tests) and diagnostic services, including x-rays, DEXA scanning, and ultrasound, will be available on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.  Urgent care services will be available on weekday evenings between 3 p.m. and 11 p.m.

Tallahassee Memorial Family Medicine will soon add X-rays to the services it offers in Crawfordville.   This practice will also add a third primary care provider in the very near future.  They are also exploring the possibility of having specialists from Tallahassee rotate through their office to see patients in Crawfordville.

All of the new diagnostic services will be available to any patient with an order from a licensed medical care provider – and all types of health insurance will be accepted.  We encourage county residents to avail themselves of these local services instead of driving to Tallahassee to have blood drawn for lab tests, to obtain an X-ray or MRI, and such.  Before heading to an emergency room in Tallahassee on a weekday evening to obtain stitches for a cut or an X-ray for a possible fracture, consider going to the Urgent Care Center in Panacea instead.  You’ll have a much shorter wait as well as a shorter drive.

We are grateful to the area’s medical care community for being responsive and bringing needed medical services to our county.  While we celebrate these successes, many challenging health care needs remain.  These include: a) urgent and emergency medical care, b) a shortage of health care providers, c) transportation to medical care facilities, d) indigent medical care, and e) county-wide health promotion.  We invite health care providers and consumers to join us in our efforts to tackle these challenges and improve health and health care in Wakulla County.  The Health Care Task Force meets at 6:00 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month at the Wakulla County Public Library.

- The Wakulla Health Care Task Force
Health Council Broadens Mission

Health promotion will now get attention from the Wakulla Health Care Task Force, originally called the Wakulla Health Council.  When formed last summer, the purpose of the council was to identify and address local needs for medical care services. 

“We haven’t abandoned that focus,” said Lynn Artz who currently chairs the task force.  “We will continue to address the county’s needs for medical care services.  However, many members want to promote health and wellness, too.”  To reflect this broader mission, the group is considering yet another name change to “Healthy Wakulla.”

“We have several other announcements,” said Cathy Price, the group’s secretary.  Meetings will now be held on the third Tuesday of every month in the new meeting room at the Wakulla Public Library.  The next meeting will be on Tuesday, January 17th.  At 5:30 p.m., potluck hors d’ouevres will be served for snacking and socializing.  The business meeting will begin at 6:00 p.m.  Anyone interested in or working in health care is invited to attend.

Bylaws for the group are close to being finalized.  Election of officers is tentatively scheduled for March.  A website is being considered.  To receive information about the group and emailed announcements, contact Cathy Price at 926-3591 x111 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

-Submitted to by Lynn Artz

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