County Health Department Touches Many Aspects of Our Lives

MASON CITY — The Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health provides services to county residents ranging from testing for radon and lead poisoning to blood pressure screenings and home health care.

But many of the services it provides are subject to the availability of state funding — which was cut this year — and ever-changing grant programs that may be available.

“Dollars do dictate what you provide,” Director Ron Osterholm said. “If the state or supervisors cut us back then we look at how we want to spend that money.”

A $117,000 budget deficit, caused by across-the-board state funding cuts and reductions in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, led to the reduction in April of five full-time staff positions.

The Health Department today has 44 employees, of which 41.25 are full-time, Osterholm said.

Three of the positions that were cut were from the county’s regional inspection program.

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