WATSEKA — Paperwork that is required for certification of Ford and Iroquois counties' respective new public health departments will get its first look by state officials later this month.
The two counties' boards of health expect to send rough drafts of their respective IPLANs to the Illinois Department of Public Health for review in mid-April. After state officials review those drafts, they will be sent back to the two counties with any suggested changes, and then final versions of each IPLAN will be approved by each board of health and returned to the state by May 1.
The IPLAN, or Illinois Project for Local Assessment of Needs, is a community health assessment that fulfills most of the requirements for health department certification.
Mike Short, the president of Ford County's board of health, said the plan is to have the state's approval of each IPLAN no later than June 15, allowing each county's health department to be certified by the state before July 1, when the dissolution of the Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department goes into effect.
Tom Szpyrka, IPLAN administrator for the state health department, met with local officials last week and said efforts would be made to get approval finalized by that date, Short said.
"Tom said that everybody in Springfield is well aware of the situation here in Ford and Iroquois counties, and they are expecting the plans from both counties, and they will do what they can to expedite things," Short said.
The Ford County health board's next meeting is at 7 p.m. Monday at Gibson Area Hospital. The Iroquois County health board's next meeting is at 7 p.m. April 29 at the Administrative Center in Watseka.