Wrangell’s public health services are receiving additional changes for the new fiscal year. There will now be age restrictions on some services.
Southeast Public Health Nurse Manager Sarah Hargrave said the cuts were made due to $5.4 million in budget cuts over the past two years.
“In addition to the position eliminations, there’s some individual services we had to change, and the reason for that is because we have fewer staff. We can’t do the same amount of work with 25 percent less staff. It’s not feasible,” said Hargrave.
Immunization and reproductive health services will now be only provided to people younger than 29 years old, the highest risk group without access to additional care said Hargrave. She public health services will help women who don’t meet the age restrictions transition to other providers.
“For women who we’ve been seeing for reproductive health services, we’re being really cognizant of helping them transition to other care. So we will continue to see them for the next couple of months to help them get care elsewhere,” said Hargrave.
She said they can easily help patients find immunization services over the phone and that other services will continue as they have in the past.
“We will continue to provide community education, community collaboration as we always have, as well as our infectious disease work will continue,” said Hargrave.
The restrictions come after Wrangell’s public health nurse and health assistant positions were eliminated earlier this spring and the public health building closed its doors. Petersburg’s public health nurse has been providing itinerant services in Wrangell for several months.
Hargrave said the frequency of those visits will continue to be based off community need.