The Virginia Beach Department of Public Health (VBDPH) is a health agency that has an interagency cooperation with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). It is located in 4 different offices across the city. In partnership with VDH, the VBDPH provides both federally mandated and non-mandated public health services to the city, which aims at promoting healthy behavior, disease control, detection, and prevention, environmental protection, and emergency response and preparedness (VDH, 2018). These services are accomplished through varieties of programs, majority of which are locally funded, leading to uncertainty of longevity of these programs. This paper will explore the array of services offered through different areas, and its viability in the future.
Federally Mandated Public Health Services
The VBDPH provides array of mandated services. According to Virginia Beach department of public health (2018), through its clinical service area, family planning is provided to those who meet eligibility criteria. These services include birth control measures, pap smears, nutrition information, safe sex information, pre-conception health information, and family planning counseling. Health department clinics also maintain on site pharmacy services to provide medications at a low cost, that also includes AIDS Drug Assistant Program (ADAP). Maternity services are also provided to ensure early access and entry into care through two programs: maternity clinic and pregnancy referral services. Finally, limited pediatrics services such as, comprehensive physical examination, hearing and vision screening, blood lead level tests, age appropriate immunizations, and nutrition assessment are provided to those who do not have access to other resources.
Through the area of infectious disease services, surveillance, investigation, diagnosis, and treatment of preventable diseases are provided (VDH, 2018). These include sexually transmitted disease (STD), tuberculosis (TB), and HIV/AIDS. VBDPH also has compiled a list of 70 reportable diseases. New emerging infections are surveyed under the guidance of VDH and CDC (VDH, 2018).
Through the area of environmental health, VBDPH provides food protection program, sanitary surveys, rabies prevention, surveillance, and treatment program, regulation of public swimming pool, beach water monitoring, hotel regulations, and restaurant inspection.
Non-Mandated Public Health Services
Varieties of non-mandated services are also provided to the Virginia Beach residents to achieve optimal well-being and health (city of Virginia Beach, 2017, p. 173). Dental program provides preventative dental care to low-income children; Healthy start program provides continued services to those who qualify, from prenatal to age 5; First step program offers education services, and telephonic support to new parents; Senior service program ensures access to community clinics and education to the most vulnerable senior citizens and those in the rural areas of the city; Maternity program offers delivery services to women who otherwise lack access to care, and do not qualify for Medicaid; Finally, Laboratory program performs tests needed by the health department clinics across the city.
To ensure ongoing delivery of the above mentioned programs and services, the city of Virginia Beach generates revenue, and is required to match 45% of the funds received by the state government (City of Virginia Beach, 2017). As stated, Virginia Beach received $170,099.00 in state funding, for the fiscal year 2017. No federal funds were received by the city, because it does not participate in the Medicaid expansion program. The city contributed a whopping $3,027,177.00 to the public health program. This data clearly shows the financial strain the city incurs, to ensure that its resident achieve health and well-being. As the fate of affordable care act (ACA) remain uncertain, the Virginia Beach public health department faces challenge of shifting its focus on providing only mandated public health programs to its residents. All the while reducing the increased service needs through its non-mandated programs. Furthermore, as stated in the website, if the ACA is repealed, important revenues through the state government will be critically reduced. This can seriously reduce or eliminate the mandated public health programs, which is vital in promoting health and safety of its residents.