FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Heidar Heshmati, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D.
Director, Florida Department of Health, Brevard County
PHONE: (321) 454-7111
Brevard County Health Department receives two Davis Productivity Awards: “ Brevard Hand Up Domestic Violence Dental Program,” and ” Nursing Home Cost Reduction Program.” Since 1989, thePrudential-Davis Productivity Awards Programhas recognized and rewarded state government employees whose work significantly and measurably increases productivity, promotes innovation, and improves the delivery of state services and/or saves money for Florida taxpayers and businesses.
The Brevard Hand Up Domestic Violence Dental Program was inspired through community partnership. Research and regular attendance at the Brevard County Domestic Violence Task Force meetings indicated a need for dental treatment for victims of domestic violence. The Hand Up Domestic Violence Dental program began treating patients in April 2012 as an extension of the Adult Dental program at the health department. This program not only provides diagnosis and treatment of dental needs for victims of domestic violence but also promotes emergency department diversion for dental related problems for these same individuals. We restore Domestic Violence survivors’ teeth and educate them on how to maintain a healthy smile for a lifetime. By doing this we give survivors a “Hand Up” to help improve their self-confidence and enable them to better their situation, enroll in school, enter the work force and become a healthier and happier member of the community.
The Nursing Home Cost Reduction Program was the result of a partnership between the health department and local rehabilitation centers. During an infectious disease update at local rehabilitation facilities, health department staff discovered many facilities were unnecessarily screening both patients and staff for tuberculosis on an annual basis. This practice is not required, not recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and results in additional cost for skin testing, x-rays and follow-up evaluations. The team identified the trend and focused the education toward the next update which reached 38 facilities housing approximately 3000 residents along with 2850 staff. By implementing current guidelines and recommendations, significant savings could be generated to both the private and public sectors in both screening and follow-up.
Dr. Heidar Heshmati, health department director, commented that the hard work and dedication of staff is truly appreciated, and is a clear demonstration of our commitment to public health, our department and to the people we serve. They represent the heart and soul of our health department.