Q:

What services do local health departments provide?

A:

Quick Answer

Local health departments provide services pertaining to public health such as immunizations, disease prevention programs, veterans' relief funds, food assistance and baby care items such as formula or diapers to residents and families. Services vary by state, but some health departments are responsible for issuing birth and death certificates for residents.

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Full Answer

Local health departments also offer social services that include developmental disabilities support, chemical dependency education, mental health education and housing programs. Many divisions of local health departments support animal shelters and coordinate animal adoptions.

Environmental health is also a core responsibility of local health departments. The agency offers on-site sewage inspections, code enforcements, food permits, water testing and solid or hazardous waste inspections to ensure the safety of residents within the county. Nutritional programs, led by dietitians or registered nurses, are often available to help residents with special diet needs related to weight management, diabetes or hypertension.

Local health departments may also be equipped with medical professionals to diagnose and treat chronic and acute illnesses and provide blood pressure screenings and annual pap smears. Health departments with clinics may perform lab tests and physical exams for patients and offer family planning counseling that may include distributing information about birth control. Local health departments also perform confidential treatment, testing and partner notifications when patients are diagnosed with sexually transmitted diseases.

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