Wilkes County Health Department Receives Federal Grant to Expand Primary Care

On Thursday December 15th Wilkes County Health Department along with the co-applicant Wilkes Community Health Center, was among the newly announced Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) New Access Point grant recipients. Wilkes County Health Department was one of the six funded sites in North Carolina, and one in 75 across the nation. Wilkes County Health Department was awarded $793,324 for the first year of the grant with $650,000 awarded the following years. The new access point will allow the Wilkes County Health Department to open the Wilkes County Health Center as a federally qualified health center (FQHC) to expand and provide primary health care needs to the residents of Wilkes County. To date in 2016, the Health Department provided nearly 6,700 medical, screening and enabling visits to 2,800 patients. By the end of year 2018, Wilkes County Health Center’s goal is to serve over 4,500 patients.

High rates of uninsured adults and chronic disease in Wilkes County, has presented challenges in maintaining the current level of services with increasing costs and reduced funding available to meet these needs. Wilkes County also has 50.3% of its residents living below the 200% federal poverty level. The new HRSA FQHC funding will allow Wilkes Community Health Center to expand the services the health department offers, and become an integral and integrated player in the health care delivery system. With the funding Wilkes Community Health Center will be able to provide adult and child primary health care, medications, and other enabling services for both adults and children.

Currently, the Health Center will operate and function in the Wilkes County Health Department. The Health Center does have plans to eventually move off site to meet the growth demands of additional patients.

Additional benefits include federal loan repayment for providers, free malpractice insurance, enhanced Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement, and funds to help cover the uninsured patients. It also provides the agency additional opportunities to apply for more grants that are only available to active federally qualified health center sites.
The health center co-applicant board will be made up of 51% of health center patients. In return, the health center hopes to provide quality primary care with patients’ needs in mind. “Community health centers are the best model of consumer directed health care and will nicely complement health promotion and preventive services at the health department,” said E. Benjamin Money, President and CEO of the NC Community Health Center Association.

“We are so pleased to be able to receive this opportunity to increase our services at the Wilkes Community Health Center and the Wilkes County Health Department with this federal grant.  We appreciate the assistance of The Health Foundation with resources to support the grant application. The Wilkes County Board of Health, the Wilkes Community Health Center Board and I would like to thank our community partners for their continued assistance and support to improve the health care needs of Wilkes County. With this grant, we will be able to expand health care services offered through the new center at the health department.” said Ann Absher, Health Director.

In the coming months ahead the Wilkes County Health Department, Wilkes Community Health Center, and community partners will come together to implement a comprehensive plan that will further enhance the primary care needs of Wilkes County citizens.

To learn more connect with us on facebook, twitter or logging on to www.wilkeshealth.com. If you have any additional questions, please contact Ann Absher at 336-651-7464 or aabsher@wilkescounty.net

“This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number H80CS30715. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.”


Notice of Proposed Adoption of Local Rules by the Wilkes County Board of Health for Postexposure Management of Dogs and Cats Exposed to Rabies

Pursuant to G.S. 130A-39(a), local boards of health have the responsibility to protect and promote the public’s health and the authority to adopt rules necessary for that purpose.  Pursuant to this authority the Wilkes County Board of Health (hereinafter the “Board of Health”) has been reviewing and considering the adoption and implementation of the new national guidance for postexposure management of dogs and cats published March 1, 2016 by the National Association of Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV) in the Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control.

This rule for rabies postexposure management of dogs and cats implements and particularizes the authority given to the local health director in G.S. 130A-197 to effectively and efficiently protect the public’s health utilizing the most current science.  Accordingly, the Wilkes Board of Health proposes to adopt the recommendations and guidelines for rabies postexposure management of dogs and cats specified by the National Association of Public Health Veterinarians in the 2016 edition of the Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control (Part I.B.5: Postexposure Management).  The provisions of the Compendium shall be the required control measures pursuant to G.S. 130A-197 if adopted.

The Board of Health proposes to consider and adopt local rules as described above at its regular meeting on Monday, February 13, 2017, at 5:30 P.M. at the Wilkes County Health Department in Wilkesboro, N.C.  This notice is given pursuant to the requirements of G.S. 130A-39(d).  The proposed rules will be available for public comment beginning February 3, 2017.  Contact the Wilkes County Health Department or the County Manager’s Office for a copy or the links below. If there are public comments, the Board of Health will review comments provided in writing or by email in advance of that meeting and will entertain anyone wishing to speak about the rules during the public comment section of the Board of Health meeting.  Registration for public comment at the meeting is required.  Individuals should register their request with Ann Absher, Health Director, prior to the meeting by calling (336) 651-7464.

If the proposed rules are adopted, they will be effective as of the date of adoption.

This the 3rd day of February, 2017.


Wilkes County Board of Health Proposed Rule for Postexposure Management of Dogs and Cats Recommended by the NC Division of Public Health
2016 NASPHV Rabies Compendium: Proposed Model Board of Health Rule
Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control, 2016

Wilkes County Health Department Patient Portal

You can now access your medical information through WCHD’s Patient Portal.  This access will allow you to view your

  • Labs
  • Vitals
  • Medications
  • Visits
  • Immunizations
  • Health Summary

Available for patients age 18 and above. You can even send secure messages to your medical provider, all you need is internet access and you’re set! (Mozilla Firefox is the required browser for the portal). Please ask us how to get your account activated today. If you already have an account, please click here.

Ahora usted puede tener acceso a su historial médico a través del portal del paciente del Departamento de salud. Este acceso le permitirá ver sus

  • Pruebas de Laboratorio
  • Signos Vitales
  • Medicamentos
  • Visitas
  • Inmunizaciones
  • Historiales médicos

Disponible solo para los pacientes mayores de 18 años. Incluso le permite enviar mensajes seguros a su proveedor de salud. Todo lo que necesita es acceso a internet y listo. (Mozilla Firefox es el navegador requerido para el portal) Pregúntenos como obtener y activar su cuenta hoy. Si ya tiene una cuenta, haga click aquí.

6 Steps you can take to battle the season

Cold and flu seasons are upon us but that doesn’t mean that you have to go ahead and schedule your sick days in anticipation of getting sick.  There are some very steps that you and your family can take to help minimize the likelihood that you’ll fall ill this Fall and Winter.  Following these seemingly simple suggestions could keep you out of the Doctor’s office.

Cold and Flu Prevention Checklist

  • Stay at home if you’re sick
  • Keep Your Hands Clean
  • Cover Your Nose and Mouth When Coughing or Sneezing
  • Don’t Touch Your Eyes, Nose, or Mouth
  • Get Plenty of Rest
  • Avoid Unnecessary Close Contact
  • Eat Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables
  • Get Fresh Air and Exercise

Get vaccinated against the flu. Even healthy people can get the flu, and it is recommended that everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine. This season, protect yourself and those around you by getting a flu vaccine.

Get your flu vaccine at the Wilkes County Health Department. Call 336-651-7450 to schedule your appointment today! The cost is only $25.00 and we accept Medicare (red, white and blue card), Medicaid and Blue Cross Blue Shield.

To learn more about protecting your family from cold and flu click here.

Welcome to Wilkes County Health Department

Wilkes County Health Department’s mission is to promote health and prevent disease in the community. The mission is accomplished through promotion of health, prevention of disease and care of the sick.

Our vision is to be viewed as the primary resource for individual, community and environmental health.  We recognize that the health needs of the community are ever changing; early intervention is most effective; environment affects health; health information is essential for making choices for healthy communities; individual health affects community health and community health affects individual health.

To download our informational brochure, please click here.

Wilkes County Health Department is Re-accredited

Accreditation Seal 2015-2019 In 2002, the North Carolina Division of Public Health and the North Carolina Association of Local Health Directors worked to develop a system for accrediting local public health departments throughout the state.

The focus of North Carolina’s Local Health Department Accreditation (NCLHDA) is on the ability of the local health department to perform at a basic level of quality main functions (assessment, assurance, and policy development) and ten essential services of public health as detailed below.  The accreditation program focuses on standards that must be provided to ensure the protection of the health of the public, but does not limit the services or activities an agency may provide to address specific local needs.  Accreditation links these basic standards to current state laws, and the many requirements that are already in place.

Here are the 10 Essential Public Health Services: (for more information on the 10 Essential Public Health Services click here)

  1. Monitor health status to identify and solve community health problems.
  2. Diagnose and investigate health problems and health hazards in the community.
  3. Inform, educate, and empower people about health issues.
  4. Mobilize community partnerships and action to identify and solve health problems.
  5. Develop policies and plans that support individual and community health efforts.
  6. Enforce laws and regulations that protect health and ensure safety.
  7. Link people to needed personal health services and assure the provision of health care when otherwise unavailable.
  8. Assure competent public and personal health care workforce.
  9. Evaluate effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of personal and population-based health services.
  10. Research for new insights and innovative solutions to health problems

Accreditation is achieved by meeting a set of 41 benchmarks as evidenced by documented completion of 148 specific activities.

Wilkes County Health Department first received accreditation in 2006.  On May 3-5, 2011, the health department received a site visit from an accreditation team for re-accreditation.  The team consisted of five members including the statewide accreditation coordinator and four members representing public health administration, public health nursing, Board of Health and environmental health.  After two and one-half days of document review and interviews with staff, county manager, Board of Health and community partners, the accreditation team completed their visit.

The site visit team recommends Wilkes County Health Department for Re-Accreditation status.    The recommendations of the site visit team will be presented at the next NCLHDA Board meeting on July 22 and the board will vote to approve the recommendations.  Accreditation status extends for four years.  The health department will be up for re-accreditation again in 2015.

Public Health Professionals, Wilkes County Health Department Honored

Wilkes County’s public health professionals were honored with a GlaxoSmithKline Child Health Recognition Award for improving children’s health at an awards ceremony in Wilmington during the North Carolina Public Health Association’s annual meeting.

 The awards program, which is overseen by the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation, ties directly to GlaxoSmithKline’s goal of delivering services of value, said Deirdre P. Connelly, President, North America Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline. “North Carolina’s public health professionals consistently deliver effective health services to our communities in innovative, creative, and cost-conscious ways,” she said. “We applaud them for the value they bring to people’s lives all over the state.”

 Local Health Department Recognition Awards are made to departments that have developed innovative programs producing measurable, sustainable outcomes.  The Wilkes County Health Department was awarded for its Mobile Expanded School Health Program, known as MESH.

 The GlaxoSmithKline Child Health Recognition Awards were established to honor local health departments, public health staff and individual citizens for their dedication to improving child health. A committee of healthcare professionals established by the North Carolina Public Health Association chose the award recipients. More information about the award winners follows.

Wilkes County Health Department

MESH—Mobile Expanded School Health Program

Adolescent health is on a roll in Wilkes County, after local public health officials came up with a novel and popular approach to treating teens: a large mobile unit that brings health care to them! MESH, the Mobile Expanded School Health Program, is the state’s first mobile health center for teens, and last year served more than 1,400 students. Adolescents face serious health challenges—asthma, obesity or anorexia, diabetes, alcohol and drug abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, depression, and even suicide—but are often the least likely to get medical care. By providing a mobile clinic that is cost-effective and flexible, the Wilkes County Health Department has eliminated many barriers to students’ access to care.

The North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation supports activities in the state that help meet the educational and health needs of today’s society and future generations. The Foundation focuses on programs that emphasize the understanding and application of health, science and education at all academic and professional levels through a traditional grants program, a Ribbon of Hope grant program, and two signature programs: the GlaxoSmithKline Child Health Awards and the GlaxoSmithKline Women In Science Scholars Program.

Back to School Childhood Immunizations: Is your child ready?

Wilkes County Health Department Officials urge parents to check that their children’s immunizations are up-to-date.  Parents have until September 22, 2010 to have their child’s immunizations current according to new NC State Guidelines.  We want parents to know that by law, their children must be up-to-date on their required immunizations to start school.  After September 22, 2010, if a child’s immunizations are not current the child will not be allowed to return to school until immunizations are up-to-date. Click here to view the requirements based on the 2010 NC State Guidelines.

Diabetes Management

Call 336-667-0460
for more information!

Wilkes County Health Department offers a full array of Diabetes Management Services and Nutritional Services including:

  • Insulin Instruction
  • Managing Diabetes during travel & sick days
  • Diabetes during pregnancy
  • Carb Counting
  • Health Weight Management
  • Disease Management
  • Heart Healthy Living