The Health Care Agency is one of the County’s largest agencies, and it has many complex and heavily regulated areas of responsibility. Most people are familiar with restaurant inspections, and public health announcements, but many know very little about the HCA’s major functions. Listed here are just the main areas of each function:
Public Health: HCA operates public health laboratories, sends nurses into the community to provide family support services to indigent clients, and provides training. HCA tracks illnesses and diseases, especially those that are emerging or resurfacing and require close monitoring. Public Health also operates HIV/AIDS and Special Diseases clinics, dental clinics, Senior Health Outreach, and County Employee Health programs, to name a few examples.
Regulatory Health: HCA inspectors respond to safety and hygiene complaints in businesses that engage in food handling and preparation, especially restaurants. Other examples of regulatory inspections include underground storage tanks, public recreation facilities (especially swimming pools), and waste disposal. HCA works with fire, police, and FBI personnel, as appropriate, to contain and evaluate environmental health hazards caused by accidents, natural disasters, the presence of suspicious substances, and possible terrorist acts.
Medical and Institutional Health Services: Both the adult and minor correctional and retention facilities are managed by IHS, which provides for both the medical and mental health needs of the inmates. The five jail facilities for adults are the Main Jail, the Intake and Release Center (IRC), the Women’s Jail, Theo Lacy, and the Musick Honor Farm. The juvenile correctional facilities include Juvenile Hall and its camps. Orangewood Children’s Home is not a correctional facility, but its medical and mental health services are a part of the Juvenile Health Services program.
Behavioral Health Services: BHS has two primary divisions, Adult Mental Health and Children and Youth Services (CYS). In addition to operating outpatient clinics, CYS staff are also assigned to schools, community centers, and locations like Boys and Girls Clubs, for better access to children where there are no standing clinics, or where there are other needs. Examples of the more specialized offerings include alcohol and drug abuse clinics, emergency interventions in the community and in the juvenile facilities, and transitioning the homeless into working and life stability.
Know Your Rights
All public employees have certain broad rights, some of which differ from those of private-sector employees.
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