Starting July 1, the Pratt County Health Department will extend its business hours for better customer service.

To better accommodate their clients, the Pratt County Health Department is rearranging hours and changing policy. The new hours will go into effect on July 1.

Public Health Director Darcie VanDerVyver gave an update on the hours to the Pratt County Commissioners at their regular meeting June 19.

Wednesday used to be walk-in immunization day. But so many people would show up at 1 p.m. that the small waiting room was packed until 3 p.m. Then no one would come in from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. So the decision was made to change policy to eliminate walk-ins on immunization day and go with appointments. They are also extending hours Wednesday to accommodate more clients.

Starting July 1, the health department will extend Wednesday hours to 6:30 p.m. They encourage everyone to make an appointment to reduce congestion at the office but will still take walk-ins.

The health department is also shortening its lunch hour so the office will be closed from noon to 12:30 p.m. but still close at 5 p.m. except for Wednesday. With the changes in hours, the department had to limit hours on Friday so the office will be open from 8 a.m. to noon on Fridays, VanDerVyver said.

Having appointments will help reduce an chances for medical errors. To make an appointment, call the health department at 620-672-4135.

The new health department office hours and services available are:

Monday: 8 a.m. to noon and 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. allergies and all services.

Tuesday: 8 a.m. to noon and 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. WIC and all services.

Wednesday: 8 a.m. to noon and 12:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Family Planning and all services.

Thursday: 8 a.m. to noon and 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. WIC and all services.

Friday: 8 a.m. to noon. Foot care first and third Fridays and all services.

Besides the new hours, the health department is ready to go on-line with the new Electronic Health Record system. If things keep progressing as expected, the EHR will also be ready to go live on July 1. However, if preparations don't move as quickly as expected, they can delay the startup until Aug. 1. The way the system is setup, it has to start on the first of a month.

When EHR does go live, clients will have to have patience. Getting everyones data entered in the system the first time is a very time consuming process. But once the information is in the system, it will make the department more efficient and they can help clients faster, said VanDerVyver who wants do start the new hours and new records keeping system all at once.

Also at the health department are free dunks to help control mosquitos and the zika virus.

VanDerVyver reported that the first foot care clinic was a big success. The turnout was so good, it was extended into the afternoon.

The health department is going to sponsor a movie at the Youth For Christ Barron Theater. They will host Despicable Me 3 on July 22.

The Department is also considering a change in landscaping and is investigating businesses for the project.

The commissioners have hired Mark Graber as the new County IT person. He was hired for $71,000 a year. Until all the paperwork is complete, County Counselor Bob Schmisseur requested Graber keep close track of all his hours and not go over 40 a week.

Commissioners also voted to hire Chay Howard of Greensburg for Pratt County public defender. Also under consideration were Tom Black, Candice Lattin and Danny Lynch, all of Pratt. The Commissioners decided to go with Howard to reduce the chance of any conflict of interest.

Sheriff Jimmy White said they have not authorized bids for the plumbing project at the Law Enforcement Center but they have already received a bid from a Mr. Smith. Schmisseur said he wanted to visit with Smith to find out why he submitted a bid for a project that has not been let yet.

Robert Torres, environmental services and noxious weed department, has been spraying a lot. He is currently down to one part time employee.

Torres said the air conditioner on his Dodge Durango had a leak. It would require taking off the dashboard to repair the problem. He will visit with repair shops about the problem and report to the commissioners at a later meeting.

Tim Branscom, county emergency manager, wants to get rid of 2004 Ford F150 pickup.