The original Phelps County Health Department was established in the late 1940’s. Early services included WIC, child health conferences, home health care, and communicable disease prevention and follow-up.
Maries County had a public health agency operated under the County Commission, but finances frequently caused cuts or lapses in services. In July 1986, Maries County Commission had the option to accept the contract with the Missouri Department of Health and reopen the Maries County Health Department to provide general public health services to Maries County.
After exploring all the options, the Maries County Commission decided to offer the contract to Phelps County instead. In July 1986, Phelps County Health Department accepted the contract with Maries County in exchange for limited funding, and entered into a contract with Missouri Department of Health to provide general public health services to Maries County.
The Phelps/Maries County Health Department staff work out of the county courthouse in Rolla, providing a range of environmental, communicable disease and personal health services to both counties.
One of the benefits of such an arrangement is that smaller counties with limited resources can receive quality public health services from a larger county. One of the drawbacks is that the primary agency must negotiate services for two separate governmental agencies and their citizens. There is no additional reimbursement in the Department of Health and Senior Services contracts for this time-consuming effort. The same is true of reporting on the outcomes of services that have been provided.
Despite the extra paperwork, the Phelps/Maries County Health Department is thriving and providing excellent public health services to residents of both counties.
Protecting public health in Phelps and Maries Counties — caring for your family, caring for our community, caring for YOU!