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COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WECT) – It looks like the Columbus County health department hours are going to stay the same, for now.
Columbus County is the state's unhealthiest county. Kim Smith and her staff at the Health Department wanted to see if operating four days a week would make the county a little healthier.
Right now the Health Department is open Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Smith said they're proposing to change their hours to Monday – Wednesday, 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Thursdays, 8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Smith said they want to have a four-day work week so they have more access to care for their patients.
"Some can't come because they work until 5 and then we're closed by the time they get here," explained Smith. "We've heard that a lot. Our dental clinic is open 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and they've had a lot of success brining in patients between that 5:00 – 5:45 hour."
Monday night, commissioners tabled Smith's request and plan to discuss it again in the future.
Some commissioners are concerned if they do it for the health department they'll have to do it for other departments in the county.
Smith told commissioners she can't use flex time like some of the other county departments because she doesn't have enough employees.
"We can give out information and educate but each citizen has to take the initiative themselves to change their lifestyles," said Smith.
Besides trying to change the hours, Smith said her staff recently applied for $300,000 worth of grants that could allow her to hire more health educators.
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