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Board still trying to fill health services post

LUVERNE -- With no director yet in place to lead Nobles-Rock Community Health Services, board members on Wednesday discussed ongoing efforts to fill the post.

In addition to advertising for a director, the board is in the process of seeking requests for proposals from health agencies throughout the region to provide the agency with administrative management services.

Karen Pfeifer, NRCHS chair, said requests for proposals were due to NRCHS by April 1, although Nobles County Administrator Mel Ruppert said at least one of the interested parties indicated it would not be able to gather all of the necessary information by that date. The deadline may have to be pushed back to allow those agencies to submit proposals.

Related to the director vacancy, Nobles County Commissioner David Benson reported that he recently learned Crow Wing County operates its public health agency with team leaders instead of a director. There, team leaders have been in place for the past three years, and Benson said he was told the system is working well.

NRCHS implemented team leaders shortly after the director's post opened at the local agency.

Marge Brchan, an advisor from HealthReady who has assisted the agency for the past year, said the team leaders in place within NRCHS have adjusted and are moving the agency forward.

"I think the agency is doing well and it directly relates to the three team leaders that are in place," Brchan told board members. She also said that regardless of the model the board chooses to lead the agency, there will be a time investment.

In other action, the board:

- Received a report on the public health preparedness table-top exercise conducted in Adrian in February.

The exercise was the first of three to be conducted by Nobles and Rock counties and focused on response to a pandemic flu situation. The next table-top exercise will be April 19, followed by a full-scale drill on June 15.

- Learned that WIC office hours have been extended in Worthington. The office will now remain open until 5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

- Reviewed and approved the NRCHS bylaws, which had been updated at the same time as the Joint Powers Agreement.

- Received reports from Paula Anderson, on tobacco programming, and Jason Kloss, sanitarian.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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