Carson City HHS would lead in disease preparedness

Karen Allen speaks while Angela Barosso (standing) and Anne Hansen, Rotary president, listen Tuesday.

Karen Allen speaks while Angela Barosso (standing) and Anne Hansen, Rotary president, listen Tuesday.

If a wildfire like the one near Markleeville strikes in Carson City the city‘s Health and Human Services agency plays a supporting role in the emergency services network, Rotary Club members were told Tuesday.

But if a disease pandemic strikes in the state’s capital community, two women from city HHS told the Rotarians, the HHS department becomes the lead agency to help combat the problem rather than backing others up with support services. The speakers both represent the preparedness unit of city HHS.

“We are generally a support agency,” said Angela Barosso, manager of the HHS public health preparedness program, remarking on the wildfire 45 miles south of Carson City and other similar emergency situations that might arise here at some point. On the other hand, she said, HHS takes the lead in preparing the community should an Ebola victim or other problem with infectious disease crop up here.

Barosso was joined in the HHS presentation by Karen Allen, a registered nurse and the HHS public health preparedness planner. Allen was the lead planner for the 2009 H1N1 vaccination response and has helped oversee all HHS community vaccination efforts since then.

Allen said HHS clinic accomplishments “reach across the entire spectrum of our community” and though HHS isn’t a primary care giver, it does provide Carson City residents a safety net to help meet some of their health and social services needs.

Allen said among those human services programs are providing the needy with medication, workforce development and training along with periodic job fairs, nutritional services for women, infants and children, financial literacy workshops, and others.

Barosso and Allen also told the Rotarians HHS has submitted necessary documentation and is undergoing a site visit in November in a quest to receive formal accreditation as a health care agency and, if successful, would be the first agency in the state to receive such designation. The city’s Board of Supervisors was told recently that could help city HHS have a competitive edge in seeking grant money.

In cooperation with Carson Tahoe Health, the women said, city HHS is working on a community health care assessment. The last such assessment was done five years ago.

The pair from HHS also said another aspect of the agency’s work involves helping health care providers in the community with preparedness planning, among them the local hospital and nursing facilities. As Allen put it: “We also help our health care system.”


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