Morgan County Health Department has new staff
Staffing changes at the Morgan County Health Department include a new part-time administrator and two new nurses. Current staff is also taking on additional responsibilities.
New Health Department Administrator Bill Kearns came on board the first part of September after former Administrator Margie Allgyer resigned. Former Health Department Administrator Lee Fowler stepped in to help on a contractual basis, but has since retired, Kearns said.
Kearns has been the Berkeley County Health Department administrator since 1996. He also served as Morgan County Health Department administrator in the early 2000s in a cost-sharing position.
The two counties agreed to the cost-sharing position again on a trial basis. The evaluation is ongoing, but so far being administrator for both counties with other staff taking on various responsibilities has worked out well, Kearns said.
Kearns, a lifelong resident of Berkeley County, serves on a number of state and regional health boards. Without cost-sharing, Morgan County wouldn’t be able to send representatives to a lot of those meetings and trainings, he noted.
Kearns is past-president and an executive council member of the West Virginia Health Department Association and serves as treasurer and voting delegate for the West Virginia Association of Local Health Departments. He also meets with state delegates and senators as needed.
Kearns rotates his time in Morgan County, spending two days here one week and one day the following week. He is always on call for consultations, if decisions need to be made or if other situations and needs arise.
Kearns said he likes working in Morgan County again and felt very fortunate to have such dedicated Health Department staff. He looked forward to working with them in the time to come.
Kearns was interested in the Health Department doing more outreach and working more closely with the Morgan County Commission and the Local Emergency Planning Committee on public health needs. Those included threat preparedness, which involves the 911 Dispatch Center and many agencies.
Kearns also wanted to expand the Health Depart-ment’s website and keep it current with information. His plan was to have the restaurant inspections online within the next few weeks. It was the most popular part of the Berkeley County Health Department website, he said.
Kearns said the Health Department had been operating with a nursing shortage, but is now fully staffed with one fulltime nurse and one part-time nurse. Both nurses share clinical responsibilities of immunizations, Health Department clinics, disease reporting and investigations.
Nurse Stacy Clatterbuck was hired as a temporary transitional part-time nurse in May. She became a permanent Health Department employee as of December 1, he said.
Clatterbuck said she trained with Berkeley County staff until the end of June and took on a nursing role at the Morgan County Health Department at the end of July. She is a recent graduate of Hagerstown Community Col-lege and worked previously at the Winchester Medical Center medical-surgical unit.
Clatterbuck had wanted to become a pediatric nurse. She said she likes every aspect of the Health Department and loves being around kids and helping the community. There is more to public health than she realized.
“I learn something new every day,” Clatterbuck said.
Nurse Patty Caldwell became the Health Depart-ment’s fulltime nurse on November 19. She was a former nurse for Warm Springs Intermediate School and Warm Springs Middle School.
Caldwell worked for 15 years in the intensive care unit at Winchester Medical Center and also on their medical-surgical floor. She was a paramedic in Morgan County for many years and has forensic nursing background. Caldwell is also one of the county coroners.
Caldwell said she likes her job with the schools and is going to miss the kids, but will still be able to see children in a different setting. She was looking forward to doing more outreach, letting the community know about their services and helping the community.
Dr. Kevin McLaughlin has stayed on as Morgan County Health Officer. Environmental Sanitarian Brian Carter has taken on additional threat preparedness planning duties, Kearns said.
Executive secretary Cathy Delawder handles day-to-day accounting and some administrative duties, he said. Other staff responsibilities remain the same.
The Health Boards and Health Officers of both counties have been very supportive of the cost-sharing arrangement. Kearns said he was glad to get their staffing back to operational so they can look at improving their services to the county.