Residents of Mecklenburg County should know about the services offered by the Mecklenburg County Health Department.
The department’s is to protect and promote the health of all Mecklenburg County residents. They offer services from A to Z.
“We are here to serve everybody,” says Dr. Marcus Plescia, health director of the Mecklenburg County Health Department. “A lot of people think we’re here just for low income individuals. We are here to serve everybody.”
Plescia said most people think about immunization clinics when they think of the health department.
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“If people don’t have insurance they can come to the health department, or we can also bill their health insurance company,” Plescia said.
Big Shot Saturday is held several times a year to get children up-to-date with immunizations.
The list of services is too long for this column, but here are some examples.
“Women between ages 50 to 65 can get free breast and cervical screenings through the health department,” Plescia said. “Patients must call ahead and bring proof of income and proof of no insurance.”
If cancer is discovered, patients can receive further diagnostic testing and treatment through Medicaid.
“The health department will also take referrals for mammograms from other providers,” Plescia said.
The Mecklenburg County Health Department offers family planning and screening for sexually transmitted diseases.
The department works in collaboration with community based organizations and other nonprofits.
“We’re seeing a lot more syphilis cases in Mecklenburg County,” Plescia said. “It’s not a disease of the past and it’s more common than people think.”
Plescia said federal funding called Ryan White Funds allows the health department to help HIV patients get treatment.
“Not all communities have the Ryan White service,” Plescia said. “We were fortunate to get that grant about 10 years ago.”
The Women Infants & Children program is another federally-funded program designed to help women before and after they give birth. It requires appointments.
Plescia came to Charlotte a year ago from the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. He said the Mecklenburg County Health Department now has a nurse in every Charlotte Mecklenburg school.
“The Mecklenburg County Commission recently provided funding for 36 more positions, which made it possible for every school to have a nurse,” Plescia said.
“I always like to remind people that the health department has a team of inspectors for restaurants,” Plescia said. “We help keep everybody healthy. People may notice the sanitation grades, but they may not know who does the work.”
Charlene Price-Patterson is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Charlene? Email her at CPPCityNews@gmail.com.
For information about the services and programs, or to schedule an appointment, call 704-336-4700. Appointments are necessary. Find details about the Mecklenburg County Health Department at charmeck.org/mecklenburg/county/HealthDepartment/Pages/Home.aspx