More than six decades later, the Will County Health Department has evolved into a comprehensive public health agency providing a wide range of personal and family health services throughoutIllinois’ fourth largest population center. The agency is headquartered at a 65,000 square-foot facility located at 501 Ella Avenue on Joliet’s southeast side; branch offices are located in Bolingbrook (323 Quadrangle), and University Park (44 Town Center). A 33,000 square-foot community health center (the agency’s primary health care component), is housed just steps west of the main office complex at1106 Neal Avenue in Joliet.
In a climate characterized by rising health care costs and a growing number of Americans living without health insurance, community health centers are working to bridge the gap. Will County’sCommunityHealthCenterhas served as the primary medical and dental care home for the area’s uninsured and under-insured since 1996.
Services are delivered by specially-trained health professionals, nurses and licensed physicians with 24-hour accountability. Available services include: Pediatrics, Obstetrics, Gynecology, Family Practice,STDintervention, family planning, general dentistry, and even pharmacy assistance.
The dental clinic has been bolstered with the addition of a 40-foot mobile dental van equipped with two operatories and digital x-ray capabilities. The unit is staffed by licensed dental professionals and will be used to take services to children and adults who might otherwise not have access to the Community Health Center.
The Community Health Center sees patients six days weekly, mostly by appointment. Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance are accepted. Patients without insurance are seen on a sliding fee scale according to income. MasterCard and Visa may also be used and services are never denied owing to a true inability to pay.
Will County Family Health Services works to provide clients with accessible, professional and timely assistance through a variety of specially designed community programs. Services provided include: WIC, Family Case Management, Immunization Services, Healthy Families Illinois, HealthWorks, Vision and Hearing services, HIV/STD programs and the Will County Tobacco Control and Prevention program.
WIC is a federally-funded nutrition education program designed for low-income women and children. Target groups include, pregnant and breastfeeding women, other postpartum women, infants, and children up to five years old. Eligible participants receive free nutritious food and are instructed regarding how to meet their nutrition needs.
Family Case Management is a comprehensive program that assures easier access to medical care and provides support for pregnant women, mothers and infants. The program helps women have healthy children with healthy futures by encouraging early prenatal care and providing referrals to a variety of services. There is no cost to eligible clients for the services provided. Clients can bee seen at the Health Department or in their homes. Client visits provide information related to prenatal needs, infant care and parenting.
Walk-in Immunization services are provided five days weekly at the Community Health Center in Joliet. Immunizations by appointment are available inBolingbrookandUniversity Park. Required childhood immunizations and adult immunizations are provided. To schedule an immunization appointment, or for questions about immunization services, telephone 815-740-8143, or toll-free at 1-800-354-7530.
Healthy Families Illinois is a program which promotes positive parenting and child health/development. Program goals include preventing child abuse and other poor childhood outcomes. Services are offered to families on a voluntary basis and target first-time parents 19 years of age or younger, or those facing the greatest challenges. Home visiting is the main component of the Healthy Families program.
The Health Department is the lead agency for Healthworks in Will and Grundy counties. Healthworks is a comprehensive health care program for children under age 21 who are in the custody ofIllinois’ Department of Children and Family Services. The program maintains a network of providers for initial health screenings, comprehensive health examinations, primary care physicians and specialty care physicians.
Vision and hearing impairment can prevent learning, contribute to behavioral problems, hamper communications, and retard speech development. WillCountyVisionand Hearing services are provided at schools, pre-schools, day care centers, and health department facilities. For more information, telephone 815-727-8501.
Will County Tobacco Control and Prevention offers a wide array of programs and services, including the highly-effective Freedom From Smoking program. Tobacco Control professionals work in the schools to help keep youth tobacco-free, and to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke. For more information about quit smoking and prevention programs, resources and Smoke-Free Illinois information, telephone 815-727-8769.
Family Health Services also provides many more critical community programs and resources, includingSTD-HIV intervention. For information about any Family Health Services program, telephone 815-727-8501.
Family Health Services also maintains the county’s Infectious Disease Control initiative. You may telephone Disease Control at 815-727-8481.
Will County Behavioral Health services were dramatically expanded in 1958, when the program became one of the first initiatives of its kind to receive state dollars earmarked for the adult mentally ill population. Services are now provided for children and adults. For information about Will County Behavioral Health programs, telephone 815-727-8521.
Will County Environmental Health maintains 10 programs, including food service inspection, complaint investigation, West Nile Virus surveillance and control, a public swimming pool and bathing beach program, and private well and septic testing utilizing an in-house laboratory component. Telephone Environmental Health at 815-727-8490.
Will County Emergency Preparedness and Response works with area schools and a variety of community partners to help ensure a quick and effective response to any man-made or natural disasters. Components of Emergency Preparedness and Response include a comprehensive Pharmaceutical Distribution program. A Medical Reserve Corps is also provided for those inclined to volunteer their services in case of an emergency. For more information aboutWillCounty’s Medical Reserve Corps, telephone 815-727-8802.
You can get a more comprehensive glimpse of programs and services provided by the Will County Health Department at www.willcountyhealth.org. Follow us on twitter at Willcohealth.