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Affordable public health care system

Written by Neal F. Litherland. Posted in Pennies Saved & Pennies Earned

Published on July 20, 2011 with No Comments

Health care is a huge issue in the United States. There have been massive debates in the government over how to make the system work better, as well as an ongoing argument over insurance and the costs that it lays on those who can’t afford it, or who can’t get insurance through work. Additionally, given the economy, health care and medical costs are the first thing that many people will try and screen out of their personal budgets. Of course, if you know where to go to get the services you need either for free, or at cost, then maintaining your health is a lot easier than you might think.

While lots of people who need immediate assistance go to the hospital or to government clinics, the old phrase of “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to your bill. If you let your symptoms go until you have a full-blown sickness, your bill is going to get worse right along with your health. Fortunately this is where the government steps in to try and keep people healthy before they can get sick in the form of the Health Department.

The Porter County Health Department’s Division of Nursing, which has offices in both Valparaiso and in Portage, provides a number of services to citizens. One of the big services is the provision of vaccines so that the population doesn’t get sick in the first place. Whether it’s a common flu vaccine, or one for shingles, typhoid, hepatitis, yellow fever, polio, and even rabies vaccinations the Health Department can help you stay protected against sickness.

“We offer the vaccines to those who are under 18 for free, and those who 18 and over at cost,” Connie Rudd, the Director of Nursing for the health department said. “If we don’t have the vaccine in at the time, we can order them for the people who need them.”

Whether you just need to arm yourself against the coming flu season, you need to get your children vaccinated for school or you’re going abroad and you need to get your immunizations all taken care of, you can go to the health department. The department also investigates outbreaks of diseases and tries to track patterns of what’s cropping up where, which is a responsibility that those in the nursing division take very seriously to protect the public.

The health department also provides testing services for sexually transmitted disease and for pregnancy free of charge to the public. All you need to do is make an appointment and then come in to get fluid samples drawn and get the testing process started. This is a big part of the prevention aspect, because if you know what state your body is in then it becomes a lot easier to make decisions about your health and what to do.

The health department also acts as an information hub for all those with health concerns. Even if the department doesn’t have a program that caters specifically to a given need, those in the nursing division do have the contacts to point citizens in the best direction and to clue you in to resources that you might not even know you had access to.

“We try to provide the best aid that we can for the services people need,” Rudd said. “No matter what problem or health concerns a person has, we’ll try and get them the best information possible and direct them where they can get the best help.”

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About Neal F. Litherland

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All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Neal Litherland is a Valparaiso resident who has been a freelance writer for several years. A graduate of Indiana University, he holds a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice. He offers advice on money-saving tips using common-sense tactics. He welcomes suggestions and comments. Contact Neal: neal@thechroniclenwi.com.

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