The Washington County Health Department reached one of its goals late last month in completing the necessary steps for the issuance of statewide birth certificate abstracts.
Three members of our staff completed training and testing so that this service would be available to anyone born in the state of Ohio and wishing to receive a certified birth abstract. Approval and access was granted by the Ohio Department of Health on Dec. 20, 2010.
What this means for people living in Washington County is that they no longer need to travel to the county of their birth to obtain a certified copy, but are able to visit the local health department for this service. It also means that individuals born in Washington County but now living in other areas of the state may be able to obtain their birth abstract at a local health department where they currently reside. Individuals should check locally to find out where this service is available.
These birth abstracts are legal documents and will meet all the requirements of any agency requiring a certified birth certificate. Cost of the certified birth abstracts is $25. Of that amount, $9 is remitted to the Ohio Department of Health for continued maintenance of the state vital statistics registry; $1.50 for each certificate is sent to the Ohio Family Violence Prevention Fund managed by the Ohio Department of Public Safety; $3 for each certificate is designated for the Ohio Children's Trust Fund as administered by the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services; $11.50 of each certificate is retained by the Washington County Health Department for the costs associated with maintaining birth and death records locally.
In 2010, the Washington County Health Department issued 811 death certificates and 115 birth certificates and 14 of the new certified birth abstracts. We anticipate an increase in the number of birth abstracts issued with the ability to access the information for births that have occurred statewide. So far in the first few days of the new year, we have provided certified abstracts for individuals born in Franklin and Gallia counties as well as some individuals born at Marietta Memorial Hospital. Whose information was previously available only through a visit to the Marietta City Health Department.
Several inquiries have also been made about the statewide issuance of death certificates. The process of making these available is being developed. However, it is still in developmental stages and will not be available in 2011. The birth certificate project began in 2004 and was finally available late in 2010. It is hoped that the process leading toward the issuance of death certificates proceeds at a faster pace.
In other public health news, it is not too late to receive flu shots. The Washington County Health Department still has some vaccine available, including the high dose vaccine for individuals over the age of 65 who may be more susceptible to infection. Our clinic hours are 1 to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays. Cost of flu shots is $20 for adults and $10 for children. We do bill Medicare and Medicaid. No one is turned away for inability to pay.
At a board of health meeting held Jan. 4, a decision was made to re-open the dental clinic. An announcement will be made when the clinic is reopened and when patients can be scheduled. No appointments are being scheduled at this time. Please watch for an announcement through this paper or other news media for more information. You can also see updated information on our website at www.washco-ohhealth.org.
Kathleen Meckstroth is executive director of the Washington County Health Department, 342 Muskingum Drive, Marietta.