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By Erin Smith

The Bladen County Department of Health and Human Services has been providing for many needs in Bladen County. On Tuesday night, the Bladen County Board of Commissioners learned what many of the departments do.

Bladen County Health and Human Services Director Wayne Raynor said, “I’d like to share some highlights of what all three agencies that serve under the Health and Human Services Department do.”

He began by discussing the Division on Aging. Raynor stated that in fiscal 2017-18 there were more than 5,000 home delivered or frozen meals have been served, more than 21,000 congregant meals have been served, 5,201 hours of in-home aid services have been provided, and $16,187 have been spent on housing on improvement projects such as wheel chair ramps. Raynor stated more than 2,000 medical transportation trips for doctors appointments and 16,725 general transportation trips have been made by BARTS.

Thus far, in fiscal year 2019, there were 2,400 home delivered or frozen meals served, more than 7,700 congregant meals have been served, 2,600 hours of in-home aid services have been provided, more than $10,000 have been spent on housing on improvements such as wheelchair ramps. Raynor continued 776 medical transportation trips for doctors appointments and more than 5,900 general transportation trips have been made by BARTS.

He added during Medicare Part D open enrollment period the Seniors Health Insurance Information program (SHIIP) counselors assisted 80 seniors in finding the best prescription drug plan to fit their needs.

The Dementia Friends Initiative has held five information sessions and a total of 63 participants have pledged to help create a dementia friendly community.

Raynor then addressed the Department of Social Services. He stated in Food and Nutritional Services, more than $9.3 million in food stamps have been administered. During Hurricane Florence, the emergency food stamp program administered $3.4 million in aid for a total 13,522 households served.

Raynor said in the Medicaid division, the Family and Children section served more than 4,000 adults, the adult medicaid section served 4,300 adults, Work First served 133.

Raynor said crisis energy programs which offer assistance with electric bills and such items, served more than 1,000 individuals. The Low Income Energy Assistance program served 644 individuals.

He stated Adult Services investigated of 977 reports of abuse or neglect. There were 29 guardianship cases and Child Protective Services investigated 386 reports of abuse or neglect. Raynor said there are currently 43 Foster Care cases.

“Another area we wanted to mention was total child support collected,” said Raynor.

The agency has collected $3.5 million in child support.

Raynor said at the Health Department, the staff discuss potential threats to Bladen County such as GenX, the issues with water clarity at White Lake, and Hurricane Florence.

“We’ve been participating in the Opioid Work Group,” said Raynor.

He said the Health Department is struggling to fill vacancies and Medicaid transportation is very complex.

“We’ve also had extended clinic hours at the request of our client surveys,” said Raynor.

He told the Commissioners that 94 percent of the department’s 2-year old clients have been immunized.

Raynor also spoke about a $16,000 grant the department received to assist with some clinic renovations. He stated the Health Department has completed the Community Health Assessment and Reaccreditation.

He said funding is in place to assist with the scanning of medical records for the creation of digital files.

During the aftermath of Hurricane Florence the Health Department also distributed mosquito dunks to Bladen County residents.

Bladen County Commissioners Chairman Charles Ray Peterson thanked Raynor for his assistance to the County.

In other business:

*The Commissioners conducted a public hearing regarding an incentive grant for the New Generation Yarn Corporation. The incentive grant will be worth and estimated $3,000 to $4,000 per year for a duration of five years, according to Bladen County Economic Development Director Chuck Heustess. 

No one spoke during the hearing and the Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the grant.

*Commissioner Ophelia Munn-Goins told the board that she and other board members have received a letter from a resident regarding trash and litter along some of Bladen County’s roads. She did not reveal the name of the letter writer. She said her husband had driven the roads mentioned in the writer’s letter and their are issues.

Commissioner Munn-Goins did not name the specific roads mentioned by the letter writer.

Commissioner Michael Cogdell asked about the signs that mention the fine for littering. He noted many of those signs are no longer posted along roadways as they once were.

Commissioners Chairman Charles Ray Peterson said that there will be a discussion regarding the litter situation will take place at the Budget Retreat on February 13 at Jones Lake.

*The Commissioner voted unanimously to approve an update to the Health and Human Services Agency Advisory Committee operating procedures.

*The board tabled a decision on a bid on a lot on Barney Coe Road.

*The board met in closed session regarding a real estate purchase. The board took no action in open session.