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October 31 2021 12:00 am

Portsmouth City Health Department seeks funding to expand access


PORTSMOUTH, OHIO — The Portsmouth City Health Department (PCHD) has had a lucrative year.

“Our growth depends on our own activity. If we want to grow, we got to go seek the funds. And that’s what we’ve done throughout,” says Belinda Leslie, administrator for PCHD.

Throughout the pandemic, they’ve received state and federal grants, which help them to hire more staff and provide additional services.

Now, PCHD hopes to expand with the help of city funding to create a better physical space. They’re asking for $35,000 dollars.

“That will allow us to renovate two spaces: the reception space when you walk in that needs to be renovated and then we will be increasing the size of existing exam rooms to accommodate exam tables,” Leslie says.

The larger rooms will also be able to accommodate clinical sinks. Health officials say the extra space will help them meet the demands of the area.

“We’re scheduling people out further than we need for the services that we provide so in adding another nurse practitioner, as well as a nurse and a front desk individual we can get more people in here in a timely manner,” says Christine Thomas, director of nursing for PCHD.

During the pandemic, it became apparent to the health center they needed additional staff and extra space.

“You have all these people that maybe were afraid to come out during the pandemic, and then all of sudden you have multiple people wanting in at the same time and again that pushes you out cause you can only see so many people in a day,” Thomas says.

Officials with the health department say the proposed expansions will benefit the community as a whole.

“We range, prior to the pandemic, about 500 some a month. That doesn’t mean they just received one service while they was here. Currently, it’s probably down to more like 350, and by bringing that other individual in we’ll be able to bring our numbers back up and go over what we used to do,” Thomas says.

“We’re going to be able to double our services,” Leslie says.

This proposal will be discussed by the city manager and Portsmouth City Council Monday.

If the council votes to move forward, it will go on the council’s agenda on October 25th.

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