Part I: Past History


The Iroquois county Health Department was established in 1966 by resolution of the Iroquois County Board.  At that time the primary purpose for the formation of the agency was to provide home health care under Medicare.  The department was established under the County Health Department Law to serve the entire county and was located in the courthouse in Watseka.


Present population of Iroquois County was approximately 35,000 spread over an area of 1,122 square miles.  The county seat, Watseka, had the largest center of population approximately 5,500.


The County Health Department merged with the county nurse to provide services which included TB testing, vision and hearing.

Testing, fluoride treatments in schools, and immunizations were offered in areas where mass immunizations were approved by medical personnel.  A minimal environmental health program related to provide water sampling also existed.


Staffing for this office was as follows:  1-Administration/Sanitation, 1-Supervisory Nurse, 1-Registered Nurse, 1-Licensed Practical Nurse, 1-Vision & Hearing Technician, 1-Secretary and 1-Bookkeeper, a total of eight employees.


It was determined that in order to effectively serve the growing population of the community more services and employees would be needed.  Details of additional staff for the second phase expansion would involve an additional sanitarian, home health aide, R.N. or L.P.N. a part-time health educator.


In June of 1974 the Watseka office of the Public Health Department moved into the building at 123 North 8th Street, previously the Public Aid office.  In 1980, the Iroquois County Health Department combined efforts with the Ford county nurse, and as a result of this, the Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department was formed. 


The Ford County Health Department office was housed in the basement of the courthouse in Paxton, and offered the same services as Iroquois County plus they also offered the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program.


In 1987, the Watseka office relocated to its current location at 114 North 3rd Street that used to be home for D and B Motors.  Like the Watseka office, the Paxton office expanded too.  In 1988, this office relocated to its present location at 235 North Taft Street.  The building was occupied in the past by the Soil and Water Conservation office.


Through the years, more programs were added and more staff hired in both offices to keep up with the needs of serving the community.  These programs included WIC, Maternal Child Health (MCH), community Care, childhood and adult immunization, pregnancy testing, car seat loans and education, cholesterol screening, sexually transmitted disease education, family planning, lead screening and case management.  Home Health Care with skilled nursing care services was also continued.


In 1996, the Health Department purchased the Jewel Box (located adjacent to the south side of the building) and expanded the Watseka office even more.  The move was needed due to the continued expansion of the Health department’s programs and staff.  What started as humble beginnings for the Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department mushroomed into a hallmark leader of the community.




Part II


Since it’s beginning in 1966, the Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department has grown into health care on the cutting edge of technology.  At the time of our 20th anniversary we had 34 full-time, and 7 part-time employees and over 60 programs that serve the bi-county jurisdiction.  Some of these programs included, care seat loaning, childhood immunizations, adult immunzations, pregnancy testing, sexually transmitted disease education, family planning, lead screening, family case management, cholesterol screenings, septic system inspections and private well water testing.  We also have outstanding home health care services with skilled nursing care, outreach services, community care and case coordination.


The agency continued to set the stage for quality programming and services by leading the public health community.  A state of the art computer system was in place and was recognized by the state health department s being one of the first of its kind in Illinois being used by a Health Department.


In 1995, the Cornerstone computer system was installed.  The system enabled us to access immunization records from anywhere in the state.  The Health department was also one of thirteen national sites and the pilot of developing and using the APEX/PH now known as I-PLAN.  The health improvement program is used as a guide to promoting community health.  FIPHD was 1 in 13 in the nation to undertake this task.  The agency was also the first to have family case management; computerized home health clinical record keeping and full accreditation from the Community Health Accreditation Program, known as CHAP.  The Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department is the first Health Department in the state to be accredited in its entirety.

Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department Celebrates 30 Years – Year 2010


Part III


The 30 year anniversary finds the agency having achieved many accomplishments and yet facing financial challenges due to the State budget.  The agency has continued to add programs that service the needs of the citizens.  In 2009 and 2010, FIPHD administered the Illinois Disaster Assistance Program grant.  The grand provided assistance to agencies and individuals who suffered losses in the flood of 2008 and infused more than 4 million dollars into the local economy.  Over the past ten years, even more programs have been added to serve the needs of the population, including programs such as Elder Care Services, Caregiver Advisory Services, Senior Information Services programs, Money Management, tanning bed inspections, etc.  Agency staff members have completed numerous trainings on handling crisis situations and are capable of leading our communities in a disaster situation.  The agency navigated the 2009 H1N1 flu epidemic and continues to provide seasonal flu clinics in the jurisdiction.


As an agency that receives a significant amount of funding through state grants, the agency is facing a challenging financial time.  Some programs, such as family planning, have been cut due to the high costs associated with providing the program.  Staff members have been cross-trained in numerous programs and some staff has retired and has not been replaced due to the budget constraints.  No one is certain what the future holds, but the one thing is for certain; the Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department will continue to work to fulfill its mission which is to assure conditions in which individuals can reach their maximum health potential. 


Accreditation Acknowledgement


FIPHD and Home Health

          CHAP Accreditation           1995

          CHAP Accreditation           1999

          CHAP Accreditation           2002

          CHAP Accreditation           2005

          CHAP Accreditation           2009


CHAP (Community Health Accreditation Program) is an accreditation entity that extensively reviews a program/agency to ensure that the policies, procedures, standards of practice and care are of the highest quality.


Healthy Families Illinois Program

          Accredited by HFA and PCAA                 2005

          Re-accredited by HFA and PCAA            2010


The accreditation process is monitored by Healthy Families America and Prevent Child Abuse America.