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Public health is one of the most important services we provide the residents of Johnson County Government. Every day, in many ways, we strive to prevent disease and promote wellness. Our Olathe and Mission walk-in clinics offer services including immunizations, pregnancy testing and family planning, and Tuberculosis testing. The Johnson County Mental Health Center provides a wide range of mental health and substance abuse services to residents. We serve clients of the Kansas WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program, teach classes for child care providers, manage disease investigation and reporting, and so much more.

Health News

Fulfilling a drive to drive

How did Drew, Ryan, Cory and Tyler reach their goal of getting their driver’s license? Angela Walsh-Fisher, a JCDS community employment specialist, recalls how the idea got off the ground.

“At one of our self-advocacy meetings, when we asked our group what they would like to advocate for in their own lives, a majority said they wanted to learn to drive,” said Walsh. “Before we left I promised them that I would make some calls to see what I could find out.”

Those calls led Walsh to Josh Smith, program director for Transportation at Johnson County Community College and Vanessa Fernandez, a JCCC Driver’s Education instructor. Fernandez was able to take the JCCC one-day, 8-hour course, and split it into four separate sessions. The result was a program that contained shorter class times with the curriculum delivered at a slower pace that includes testing accommodations. The amount of behind-the-wheel training is determined by Fernandez for each student.

Once Walsh and Fernandez finalized the class structure, they held an informational meeting in March 2017 to explain the program. More than 50 people attended the meeting and the two offered classes quickly filled up.

Fernandez is pleased with how the class has turned out and is glad she can help people get a driver’s license who may not have been able to before this program.

“I’m very happy with who I put on the road,” said Fernandez. “They deserve to drive and they do a good job.”

This course will be offered in September and information is available online on page 84 for the Fall 2017 Continuing Education Catalog.

Final newsletter from 2016-2017 Project SEARCH class

Our Project SEARCH 2016-2017 class of interns has graduated! Before they left they put together their final newsletter. Take a look to see which class members are already out in the local workforce. 

Johnson County OneAssist

Are you aware of the services provided by Johnson County health and human service agencies and departments? How convenient would it be to call one number and speak to an individual who can direct you to the various services you might need?

Johnson County Government launched OneAssist, a single telephone number for callers seeking assistance from county health and human service agencies and departments. One call to 913-715-8989 now connects residents to resources and services from the departments of health and environment, human services, mental health and the county’s developmental supports agency.

OneAssist means callers needing help from one or more of our health and human service agencies can connect with an individual who will get them to the correct resources they might need,” said assistant county manager Maury Thompson, who oversees human services departments. “This is the result of more than 18 months of research and conversations with clients and community partners designed to improve the delivery of health and human services.”

County residents needing services should call 913-715-8989 during regular business hours (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday). The calls will be assessed based on the needs of the resident calling and directed to the appropriate agency or department.

“In the past, our residents may have called one agency or department seeking help, not realizing they might need assistance from other programs in the county,” Thompson said. “By centralizing our calls, we can address this and provide much better access to our various services.”

There are many different services these agencies and departments offer to county residents. Some of the most common requested services include:

  • Department of Health and Environment — family planning, prenatal, STD/HIV testing, outreach nurse, immunizations, Women, Infants and Children (WIC), child care licensing and education, and targeted case management for pregnant and parenting teens;
  • Human Services — aging services, utility assistance, food pantry and housing;
  • Johnson County Developmental Supports — determines eligibility for those seeking intellectual and developmental disability (I/DD) services, maintains the county’s network of I/DD service providers, provides quality assurance of network and conducts annual assessments for individuals in services;
  • Mental Health — case management, medication management and therapy.

The creation of Johnson County OneAssist addresses the county commission’s strategic priority to “promote the self-sufficiency of persons who are part of the county’s vulnerable populations, including those struggling with issues related to poverty.”

As temperatures rise, county officials warn against tick exposure

Johnson County Government reminds residents to take precautions in warm weather to avoid exposure to ticks and other disease-carrying insects.

K-State Research and Extension and the Department of Health and Environment offer basic information and prevention tips for tick exposure.

“We’re expecting tick exposure to rise this season after noticing an increase in early tick activity and in the aftermath of mild winter conditions,” said agriculture and natural resources extension agent Rick Miller. “We’re asking residents to take precautions when spending time outdoors to avoid exposure to tick-borne illnesses.”

Ticks can be difficult to detect because the insects develop in four stages: egg, larva, nymph and adult. The American Dog tick, the Lone Star tick and the Brown Dog tick are the most common tick species in Johnson County.

Ticks typically feed on native wildlife or domestic livestock to meet their need for a blood host. Once they have fed, they drop to the ground and molt into their next stage. Ticks repeat the process three times as they move from the larva to the nymph to the adult stage. Blood hosts are typically a mouse, small rodent, a bird or a deer.

Ticks do not jump or drop from trees. Ticks crawl onto blades of grass, weeds or low bushes and wait for a host to brush against the vegetation. The tick immediately releases from the vegetation and crawls onto the host.

Tick prevention

The Department of Health and Environment suggests the following ways to avoid exposure to ticks.

  • Avoid direct contact with ticks by avoiding wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.
  • Walk in the center of trails.
  • Use repellent that contains 20 percent or more DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 on exposed skin for protection that lasts several hours. Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes and mouth.
  • Use products that contain permethrin on clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents with products containing 0.5 percent permethrin. It remains protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is available and may be protective longer.
  • If you are concerned about ticks, be sure to inspect your body and scalp in search of moving insects before they have a chance to latch on. If an attached tick is discovered, immediately remove it using tweezers. Do not try unsound methods like finger nail polish or a lit match. This could cause the tick to expel disease-carrying fluids into the skin.

Extension professionals suggest that if you need help identifying ticks, take them to the county extension office and staff should be able to identify them or send them to state entomologists for testing.

Residents can send a close-up photo to Rick Miller at rick.miller@jocogov.org and they can bring a sample to the K-State Extension Office, 11811 S. Sunset Drive, in Olathe.

Public Health Advisory Lifted for Water in Brush Creek

In collaboration with Johnson County Wastewater, the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment has lifted a health advisory for residents living in the area between 55th and Mission and 75th and Mission. The advisory was issued Saturday, May 13 due to a sanitary sewer overflow into Brush Creek in the areas of Prairie Village and Mission Hills.

Johnson County Wastewater crews investigated the source and determined a private contractor unknowingly drilled into a sewer line in the area near Tomahawk Road and Mission Road.  The damaged line has been repaired. The Wastewater Department flushed the creek in the area and tested the water.  Bacteria levels have returned to normal allowing the advisory to be lifted today.

If you have questions about the advisory being lifted, please call 913-477-8436.

March for Meals food truck rally this Friday

On Friday, March 24, Johnson County Meals on Wheels will partner with Kansas City Food Truck Mafia to host its second-annual food truck rally 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in downtown Olathe, 111 N. Cherry St. Six food trucks are slated to participate in this year’s rally. All food trucks accept cash and credit cards and donations collected at the event will benefit Meals on Wheels seniors. 

Cherry Street will be blocked off for the food truck rally. Guests are encouraged to use the parking garage on Cherry Street or use available two-hour parking stalls on Kansas Avenue. Setup for the event begins at 9 a.m. and streets should be open again by 3 p.m.

Each March, Meals on Wheels programs from across the county unite for “March for Meals” to celebrate the collaboration of local community organizations, businesses, state and local government and compassionate individuals to ensure that senior residents are not forgotten. 

Take precautions to prevent spread of mumps

The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment has confirmed seven cases of mumps in adults living in Johnson County, Kan. Given the number of reported cases in Kansas and in nearby states, it is important that Kansans are up-to-date on their MMR vaccination (measles-mumps-rubella). Getting the vaccine will reduce the chance of getting the disease or reduce the severity of the illness.

Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus. It’s best known for puffy cheeks and a swollen jaw from swollen salivary glands. An infected person can spread the virus by:

  • Coughing, sneezing, or talking,
  • Sharing items, such as cups or eating utensils, with others, and
  • Touching objects or surfaces with unwashed hands that are then touched by others.

Symptoms usually last 7 to 10 days. Some people who get mumps do not have symptoms. Others may feel sick, but will not have swollen glands. If you or someone in your family has mumps symptoms, stay home and away from others and contact your healthcare provider.

KDHE recommends that a buccal swab specimen, a blood specimen and a respiratory viral panel (NP swab) be collected from all patients with clinical features compatible with mumps. Healthcare providers who suspect mumps in a patient or have received laboratory confirmation that a patient has mumps should call JCDHE’s disease investigation team at 913-826-1303 within 4 hours. Fax completed disease reports to 913-826-1300. After business hours and weekends, call the Kansas Department of Health and Environment at 1-877-427-7317. A quick reference guide for providers is available here

The best way to prevent mumps is to get the MMR vaccine. We offer the MMR vaccine at our walk-in clinics in Olathe (11875 S. Sunset Dr.) and Mission (6000 Lamar Ave.). No appointment is needed.

Check out the latest news about Project SEARCH

Our Project SEARCH program has grown this year! The 2016-2017 interns have finished their first rotation and their first newsletter. We invite you to click here and take a look!

Outside labs should ship specimens to KHEL

The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment will no longer accept outside laboratory specimens and packages for shipment to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s laboratory. Outside laboratories and providers should ship specimens and packages directly to the Kansas Health and Environmental Laboratories (KHEL) via courier or delivery service. Packaging and shipping instructions can be found here.

Specimens and packages requested by JCDHE will continue to be shipped to KHEL by JCDHE. 

Johnson County response to Sec. Tim Keck

Today the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners endorsed this response to Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services Secretary Tim Keck’s editorial in the Wichita Eagle entitled “Kansas safety net for disabled strong and improving.” 

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