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Public Health

 

Rusk County Health & Human Services
Public Health Department
311 Miner Avenue East, Suite C220
Ladysmith, WI 54848

After hours phone number for:
Public Health Emergencies
Communicable Disease Outbreaks
Environmental Health Hazards
Bioterrorism Incidents
911 or (715) 532-2200

2013 Annual Report.pdf

Mission

The mission of the health and Human Services, Public Health Department, is to maximize the quality of life across the lifespan by promoting health, protecting the environment, and preventing disease and injury.

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The Role of Public Health:

  • Promote and encourage healthy behaviors
  • Prevent and control epidemics and the spread of disease
  • Prevent injuries, illness, and disabilities
  • Promote accessible, high quality health services
  • Promote a healthy environment and protect against the effects of environmental hazards on health
  • Respond to disasters and assist communities in recovery

Essential Public Health Services:

  • Monitor health status to identify community health problems
  • Identify, investigate, control, and prevent health problems and environmental health hazards in the community
  • Inform, educate, and empower the public about current and emerging health issues
  • Promote community partnerships to identify and solve health problems
  • Develop policies and plans that support individual and community health efforts
  • Enforce laws and regulations that protect health and ensure safety
  • Link people to needed health services
  • Assure a diverse, adequate, and competent workforce to support the public health system
  • Evaluate effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of personal and population-based health services
  • Assure access to primary health care for all
  • Foster the understanding and promotion of social and economic conditions that support good health
  • Conduct research to seek new insights and innovative solutions to health problems
  • Programs

    Birth to Three Program

    The program is for children ages birth to 36 months. Eligibility is based on a diagnosed condition or developmental delay in one or more areas of development. A team will evaluate your child’s ability to learn, move, see and hear, respond and relate to others, eat dress, and care for daily living needs. We value the family’s primary relationship with their child and work in partnership with the family. We work to enhance the child’s development and support the family’s knowledge, skills and abilities as they interact with and raise their child. Your baby’s relationship with you; the sights, sounds, smells and feelings your baby experiences affect the way your baby’s brain develops. The earlier a child’s developmental delays are discovered, the more opportunities there are for a child to increase skills and abilities. If you have any questions about your child’s development or would like a developmental screening, please call (715)-532-2299 for an appointment.

    Communicable Disease Program

    Certain communicable diseases are mandated by statute to be reported to Public Health for investigation, control, and prevention of spread among people. A public health nurse, or registered nurse investigates reported communicable diseases, including contact investigations, in an efficient yet confidential manner.

    DNR Transient Non-Community Well Program and DATCP Certified Microbiological Water Lab

    Under a contract with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Rusk County Public Health Department administers the DNR Transient Non-Community Well Program, which involves testing drinking water and evaluating systems at public facilities with Rusk County. Municipal water is also tested for coliform bacteria at the lab.

    Environmental Health Program

    A full-time Registered Sanitarian/Environmental Health Specialist is available to respond to complaints, concerns, and questions from the public on topics such as housing, food and drinking water safety, indoor and outdoor air quality, sanitation, hazardous materials, pest activity, and recreation. Abatement orders may be issued by the Health Officer or designee under Rusk County Code Chapter 10: Public Nuisances/ Human Health Hazards. Well water testing is available on a fee-exempt basis for WIC clients, and for investigative purposes. Beaches owned by Rusk County and the City of Ladysmith are sampled weekly during the summer months for the presence of E. coli bacteria in the water. The Registered Sanitarian collaborates with the Rusk County Animal Shelter to investigate animal bite reports and rabies testing. Other programs include West Nile Virus monitoring, Radon education and testing, and tobacco legislation education.

    The environmental health program covers investigation and abatement of any environmental exposures that may affect of the health of the entire population, or even a single person. The Health Officer, or designee, following Rusk County Code Chapter 10, investigates human health hazard complaints. A full-time Registered Sanitarian/Environmental Health Specialist is available to respond to concerns and questions from the public on topics such as housing, food and drinking water, indoor and outdoor air quality, sanitation, hazardous materials, pest activity, and recreation. Well water testing is available on a fee-exempt basis for WIC clients, and for investigative purposes. County owned beaches, as well as one beach owned by the City of Ladysmith, are tested weekly from Memorial Day through Labor Day for the presence of E. coli bacteria in the water. The Registered Sanitarian collaborates with the Rusk County Animal Shelter to investigate animal bite reports and rabies testing. The Registered Sanitarian also participates in West Nile Virus, and radon monitoring.

    Food Safety and Recreational Licensing (FSRL) Full Agent Program

    Under the Department of Health Services FSRL Agent Contract, a Registered Sanitarian conducts inspections of restaurants, campgrounds, lodging facilities including bed and breakfasts, public swimming pools and whirlpools, body art establishments, recreational/educational camps, and vending machines. Each facility under the contract is inspected at least once per year, with additional inspections warranted by complaints or changes in ownership or capacity.  

    For a Rusk County permit application, click here.

    For a list of approved certified food manager classes, click here.

    Immunization Program

    Immunizations are provided free of charge to children ages eighteen and under via the State of Wisconsin Vaccine for Children program. Immunizations are given by appointment. Limited immunizations are available for adults on a fee for service basis.

    Lead Poisoning Prevention Program

    Children participating in the WIC program receive blood lead screenings at ages one and two years. Home inspections may be provided to children whose confirmatory blood lead level is indicative of poisoning.

    Maternal Child Health (MCH) Program

    This program has, as its general purpose the improvement of the health of all mothers and children. Current program activities include home safety assessments, postpartum assessments, and a child passenger safety (car seat) program.

    Oral Health Program

    School based fluoride mouth-rinsing programs are evidence-based prevention strategies that prevent dental caries. Students in the Bruce School District, grades 1 through 6, are given the opportunity to participate in a weekly fluoride mouth-rinsing program at no cost to them.

    Prenatal Care Coordination (PNCC)

    PNCC services are available to Medicaid-eligible women with a high risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes. High-risk pregnancies require additional prenatal care services, coordination of services, and follow-up because of medical or non-medical factors that may include psychosocial, behavioral, environmental, or nutritional concerns.

    Prevention Program

    “Cribs for Kids,” is an evidenced-based safe sleep education program to help reduce the risk of injury and death of infants due to unsafe sleep environments. New, safe, portable cribs are provided when necessary.

    Public Health Preparedness Program

    Grant funds support activities that strengthen the program’s ability to plan for, and respond to, public health emergencies. The activities stress cooperation between county, regional, and state partners.

    Reproductive Health Program

    Provides services to individuals (female and male) and couples such as: education, counseling, referrals and financial assistance enabling them to:

  • Make informed choices and decisions
  • Develop pregnancy plans
  • Achieve family planning goals
  • Prepare for desired future pregnancies and parenthood

School Health Program

Public health currently provides school nursing services to the Bruce School District on a contract basis. These services contribute to the improvement of health outcomes by focusing on health services, health education, and a healthy environment.

Tobacco Control and Prevention Program

The goals of this program are to prevent youth initiation of the use of tobacco products, promote tobacco use cessation, promote statewide smoke-free worksites, implement strategies in support of other tobacco products local policies, and cooperate with compliance investigations at licensed tobacco retail establishments.

Wisconsin Well Woman Program (WWWP)

Provides preventive health screening services to women with little or no health insurance coverage. Well Woman pays for mammograms, Pap tests, certain other health screenings and multiple sclerosis testing for women with high risk signs if multiple sclerosis. To qualify you must be a woman age 45 through 64 with income at or below 250% of federal poverty level.

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program

This special supplemental nutrition program serves to safeguard the health of low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, infants, and children under the age of five who are at nutritional risk. The Rusk County WIC Registered Dietitian provides breastfeeding education and support, and is a Certified Lactation Specialist. The state WIC program provides the Rusk County WIC Program with manual and electric breast pumps to loan to breastfeeding mothers.