Monmouth Public Health Consortium
In 2005, the City of Long Branch, Colts Neck, Freehold Area, Manalapan Township, Monmouth County Regional Health Commission No. 1 (MCRHC) and Middletown entered a shared services agreement to provide certain public health services to the non-county health department towns. The health officers of these five health departments and the commission came together and formed the Monmouth Public Health Consortium. The combination of these municipalities totaled a population of 390,000 people. This was the largest shared service public health department grouping in Monmouth County and the State of New Jersey. The public health services provided by this shared service were Epidemiological services and an Administrative Assistant to the Epidemiologist.
Consortium towns pooled together funding based on a population assessment with MCRHC being the largest contributor. MCRHC is the lead/host agency in this shared services endeavor, exemplified by their commitment to providing shared services in New Jersey. Together the Consortium has saved the participating towns considerable money, time and staff. In 2013, the budget for Consortium was $195,871.00 as opposed to approximately $540,000.00, the estimated cost for the State mandated services. During 2013, the State Health Department identified Regional State Epidemiologists (RSE) and Assistants to the Epidemiologist for each county. At that point, the State recommended that there would no longer be a need for local epidemiologists. Consequently, the Consortium and the MCRHC decided to work exclusively with the Regional State Epidemiologists and use the Assistant to the Epidemiologist as the communicable disease case investigator for the Consortium.
The current Consortium services include communicable disease investigation (1,200-1,400 cases per year) and regional health education, by contract, serving 287,171 people for $112,917 or $.40 per capita.
Our performance management/best practices goals for the Consortium are as follows:
- Close coordination with the New Jersey Department of Health
- Close coordination and assistance from the Consortium Health Officers and staff
- 95% of the Immediately Reportable Diseases are responded to on a 24/7 basis
- 95% of the 24 Hour Reportable Diseases will be responded to on a daily basis
- 95% of the Outbreak Reports will be sent to the NJDOH within 30 days of the local/State closure of the communicable disease case.
- Monthly reports
- Language line access for translation services.
Ultimately, we make every effort to break the “chain of infection” (infectious agent, reservoir, portal of exit, mode of transmission, portal of entry and establishment of disease in the new host or person) and contain communicable diseases as quickly and effectively as possible. This takes cooperation and effort from health department staff, state, hospitals, physicians, and the community.
The Consortium continues as a shared services leader in Monmouth County and New Jersey. Maintaining a strong public health leadership role, the Consortium will continue to seek more shared service opportunities to maintain the health of our communities and to follow-up on communicable diseases and public health education at a reduced cost. The staff consists of a Communicable Disease Case Investigator, Regional Public Health Educator and back up from the MCRHC Health Officer. We are in the process of adding optional services (back-up lead poisoning nursing case management, back-up public health nursing and school immunization audits).
The Consortium services are a clear benefit to our collective communities and the general public from a public health and financial point of view. We continue public health’s long history and tradition of shared service leadership, collaboration and innovation.