Public health office opens its doors

Alisa Boswell

A ribbon cutting is set for 2 p.m. Friday for the new public health office, which opened its doors June 1 next to La Casa Family Health Center in Portales.

The office has been located in the same building as La Casa for the last 15 years. Construction for the new building began June 1, 2010, after Roosevelt County was given a $1.5 million state grant for the construction of a new government building.

“We had an increasing case load which made it increasingly more difficult for the two organizations to stay in the same building,” said Carol Morgan, the nurse manager for the office. “It’s been about five years since we’ve needed space of our own.”

Morgan said the office will provide the same services it always has but with better efficiency because of the extra space. These services include schooling nursing students, immunizations, family planning, free STD and HIV exams and more.

“It’s a matter of being able to provide our services more effectively,” Morgan said of the benefits of the new facility. “I think that we’re going to be more visible to the community as a separate entity.”

Morgan said she is also grateful for the new building so more people can be aware of the pregnancy prevention services, STD treatments and counseling classes which are available for free to low income individuals and families.

“Some kids don’t understand the consequences that can come with having sex without protection or with multiple partners,” Morgan said. “We get a majority of them because we give free STD exams.”

Morgan said the facility has a large number of patients for being in a small county but many people did not know it existed because it was located inside the La Casa building.

“We’ll continue to have the strong working relationship with La Casa and the RGH clinic,” Morgan said. “It’s been a really good working relationship with La Casa for a long time.”Morgan said the public health office has always referred patients to La Casa for treatment and will continue to do so from their new building. She said even with their limited space in the previous building, working conditions with La Casa have always been productive.

“We are very thankful that La Casa is part of our partnership and will continue to be,” said Margie Blatnik, WIC region supervisor for the office. “The facility is going to benefit our community in that we’ll be able to see more clientele. Employee morale is higher because of the new building. They feel better about being in a bigger space and having more projects to do.”