New Coweta Health Department: 'We are thrilled. It's lovely'


From left, Linda Benoist, LPN, and Shirley Harper, LPN, show off the Coweta Health Department’s new, state-of-the-art vaccine refrigerator at the newly-opened facility on Hospital Road. The refrigerator is backed up by an automatic generator.

By ELIZABETH MELVILLE The Coweta County Health Department has been open since June 6 at its new location, 70 Hospital Road. The health department was closed to patients for a week while staff relocated from the old facility on Jackson Street near downtown to its new location near Hospital Road's intersection with the Newnan bypass.
The department is continuing to ask patients to use their temporary number, 770-683-0497, and temporary fax number, 770-683-0545. "We're not sure when that's going to transition over," said Nurse Manager Alice Jackson. Patients are still being encouraged to schedule an appointment while staff continues to iron out the glitches in their new phone system and with their new computers. Jackson said this week that the staff is settling in and very much enjoying the new building. The new facility is approximately 14,500 square feet. The old health department was less than 10,000 square feet. Jackson said that even though the new facility sounds much bigger on paper, it's very well designed and even better utilized. She's also thankful that her department was invited to give input in the design process so the new facility would better meet their needs and the needs of their patients. The health department is a state-of-the-art facility. It has four immunization rooms, two hearing/vision rooms, four child health rooms, a breast-feeding room and baby changing room, lab, pharmacy and much more, according to Jackson. The new universal lab is "a real big thing for us," according to Jackson. "We didn't have this before." The staff can now order lab work for people with a doctor's prescription. Jackson said they have a segregated biohazard closet located near an exit. They have a pharmacy and, since the move, have added a second refrigerator to store vaccines. They have 25-30 vaccines on site at any given time, depending on the season. "For the very first time, our refrigerators are thermostat monitored," said Jackson. The pharmacy also has an automatic generator -- which gets tested once a week -- that will kick on if the building experiences a power outage. "No one else in the county carries the quantity of vaccines we carry," said Jackson. Additionally, their phone system is now linked with Coweta County's. "They've worked with us from the beginning -- the county workers are wonderful," she added. The new administrative suite has a lockable filing system, in keeping with HIPAA regulations. They also have a temperature-controlled server room. Nearly half the building is occupied by the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program. WIC has a convenient voucher pick-up area. They also make use of a WIC demonstration kitchen to host cooking lessons for parents. WIC has a nutritionist/certified lactation consultant on staff. Jackson says the facility is "bright and clean" and everything a health department should be. She says it was an effort that came about not only from the top down, but also from the bottom up. "We are thrilled -- it's lovely," she said.

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