Grand Forks Public Health Department

Thursday, October 16, 2008


The meeting was called to order at approximately 12:15 p.m. by Don Shields.

Those Members Present: Don Shields, Bobby Vogel, Jack Kerbeshian, Dr. James Hargreaves, John Packett, Julie Anderson, Pat Berger, Jody Thompson, Margaret Tweten, John Clayburgh, and Kathleen Concannon. Others present: Irene Dybwad (GF County Social Services), Betty Hellerud (NE Human Service Center), Barbara Zavala (Veterans Office), and Keith Westerfield (Public Health).


1. Review and Approval of Minutes of July 17, 2008 Meeting:
Minutes were reviewed and approved with no changes.

2. Grand Forks “Detox” Community Facility Initiative Update - Northeast Human Service Center (NEHSC):
Betty H. gave an update (for Kate Kenna) that there is still interest in pursuing social detox, but at this point there isn’t enough funding, or enough collaboration of different people to accomplish that. It’s still an open item, with a potential meeting in the future. It gets to be a more pressing issue with the weather turning colder. Also, if the service is implemented before the end of the fiscal year, then it becomes a ‘continuing’ budget item instead of a ‘new’ budget item. Anyone interested in being on the ‘Detox’ committee, contact Kate Kenna at the NEHSC.


1. Veteran Programs and Services: Barb Z. gave a presentation on the Veteran’s office programs and services that are available (see attached pamphlet). Barb has been the new Veterans Service Officer for over a year (also the temporary Public Administrator).

- There are about 6,000 to 6,500 veterans in the Grand Forks County, who mainly use the VA Medical Center in Fargo, which service North Dakota, northern Minneasota, and northeastern South Dakota. The Fargo VA medical center also takes care of eight community-based outpatient clinics in ND, with two more clinics coming to Devils Lake and Grand Forks. The veterans are fortunate that not only is the regional center located there, but the VA medical center is one of the tops in the country. They seen a five percent increase in patients seen, from 28,000 veterans in 2007, to 30,000 in 2008 (rest of country only seen a one percent increase). Fargo VA had a goal of getting someone an appointment to be seen within 30 days, and they’ve meet 99% of that goal.

- The new Grand Forks community-based outpatient clinic for veterans is on its way! They have two bids (selected down from 13) that they are currently looking at (where to house it). They are hoping to have it open in Spring 2009, in a location downtown that would be accessible by bus or walking. The Grand Forks veteran’s clinic plans to have four health care providers (two doctors, two nurses) plus administrative staff. Any specialty care would be sent to Fargo.

- Fargo has started Home Health Care, where a nurse goes to the veteran at home who is unable to get to an appointment due to health, and give treatment there (40-mile radius).

- Veterans are only able to use the VA medical center if they are eligible; for a service-connected disability, income level, or a Vietnam Vet (so it’s not automatic for all veterans).

- We are seeing more claims for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Traumatic Brain Injuries from 10-15% of those who were deployed for Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom (14-17% deployed were women).

- Other facts: During the Vietnam war, it took 17 days to get an injured soldier back to the states. Now they are stateside usually within 72 hours. During World War II there was 1 injured for every soldier killed, Vietnam had 3 injured per 1 killed, but for the Iraqi war, it’s 14 injured for each killed.

- Barb also briefed on Veteran Presumptive Conditions, for those veterans that actually ‘put a foot on the ground’ in Vietnam (see attachment).

Mayor’s Health and Human Services Grand Forks Cabinet Minutes
October 16, 2008
Page 2

2. Member Update:

Jody T – He handed out a Grand Forks Public Schools newsletter (see attachment), that will go out this month or December, to middle and high school parents. There is an increase in number of prescription drug use cases that students are using or selling prescription medication that is not theirs. Nation-wide, there has been an 300% increase in prescription drug abuse in a 10-year period, with 7 million students using them to get high, and more than 2.2 million youths, between ages 10-17, use them for non-medical reasons. Students are going to ‘pill parties’ where unknown drugs are brought and kids try them without knowing the side-effects, and if they wind up in the hospital (Altru has had five cases of them last year), the doctors don’t know what drugs to treat them for. It’s not an epidemic, but the schools wanted parents to be aware. Prescription drugs and cold medications are more readily available at home. Parents probably keep better track of their alcohol at home than their prescription drugs.

Col. Kathleen C. – The base is starting up their flu shot season.

Don S. – Noted that 400 North Dakotans will die this year from the flu or complications from the flu. It was asked if Grand Forks Public Health was holding their Drive-Thru Flu Clinic this year, but the answer is no. Due to changes to immunizations, new billing procedures, and adding payments by credit card, Public Health will not be able to have the drive-thru clinic this year. We hope to continue drive-thru clinics in 2009. In addition to having flu shots available during normal business hours, Public Health is giving flu shots from 5-7 pm on Mondays in October and the first Monday in November.

John C. – The new Valley Community Health Centers Dental Clinic has hired a second dentist this summer. Also a new dental clinic in Bemidji, Minnesota will be opening soon.

Margaret T. – There are military grants available to help with Post-Traumatic Stress. Another 1000 National Guard members are expected to be sent overseas next year.

Betty H. – There has been a major change that has occurred when NEHSC gets custody of a child.
They are now mandated to do a relative search. They also can’t just place a child with a relative in another state without getting that state’s permission. About 53% of the children in NEHSC’s custody, are now with relatives. A child does best with family, and if there’s a possibility for the child to stay with the family, then the whole family is targeted for providing services. ‘Family’ is being brought to the front. They are also seeing a lot of people scared about their heating and what winter will bring.

Pat B. - At the United Way’s Annual Board of Director’s meeting, the agencies number one concern of clients coming in are with basic necessities and cost of things going up. The Grand Forks Rescue Mission has seen increase of people staying, up to 95-100 folks each night. Also more people coming in, and more often to Food Shelves. Even ‘middle-class’ folks are struggling.


V. ADJOURNMENT The meeting adjourned around 1:10 p.m.

VI. NEXT MEETING: Thursday, January 15, 2009
12:00 noon – 1:30 p.m.
(lunch will be provided by Altru Health System)
Altru Hospital (Lower Level, Multi-Media/Board Room)


- Mayor’s Cabinet Members Listing, October 2008
- Grand Forks Public School Letter, dated October 2008
- Veteran Benefits pamphlet and Presumptive Condition List