Johnson County Public Health Clinical Services lacking certain staff after resignations

Johnson County Clinical Services staff said remaining staff had taken on extra work but its services were still operational.


Matt Sindt

Supervisor Rod Sullivan listens to speakers at a Johnson County Board of Supervisors work session Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2023.

Alejandro Rojas, News Reporter

Johnson County Public Health Clinical Services is facing staffing shortages in key positions after last year’s resignations and recent illnesses.

Roberta Sloat, Clinical Services Manager for Johnson County, presented the information during the weekly board of supervisors’ work session Wednesday, which included the decline of staffers. 

Sloat said clinical services had lost its two integrated testing services (ITS) clinical staff, a maternal health nurse, and a clerk to resignations. The ITS clinical staff, which was composed of two people, resigned in December 2022, according to the presentation slides. 

ITS services offer free and confidential HIV and Hepatitis C testing, among other services related to sexual health. While Clinical Services is trying to hire new ITS clinical staff, it is currently working with the remaining ITS team and the Iowa Department of Public Health  “maintain services, and recruit personnel,” according to Sloat’s presentation slides.

In addition to the resignations, Sloat said there had been an increasing number of absences because of illness.

Even with the resignations and the absences, Sloat said clinical services staff have done a good job working together to maintain its level of service. Part of this included current staff taking on extra work.

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Rod Sullivan, vice chair for the Johnson County Board of Supervisors, said the problems facing clinical services weren’t new, but commended staff for their hard work.

“I know two public health directors ago, they were running into some real trouble with that,” Sullivan said. “The previous director was working pretty hard to make sure people had a little more redundancy so that they could cover. It sounds like you’ve been able to maintain that, and that works. That’s certainly the goal.” 

Supervisor Royceann Porter asked if staff is able to complete their work with the additional workload. Sloat said the team had been able to do their work fine, but admitted there might be some burnout.

“There’s probably a little bit of fatigue there, but we’ve all pulled together, and we all communicate well, and we’re all willing to work together,” Sloat said. “I think we all support each other enough, and all understand that everybody has to pull a little harder right now, but it’s going to get better.”

Green-Douglass offered her own thanks to staff for all the hard work they had done, especially after working through the pandemic.“This is after a couple years of that entire department stepping up for all that they had to endure, and help with, and educate, and just manage during the worst part of the COVID shutdown,” Green-Douglass said. “And I just hope that there’s some kind of acknowledgement, frequent and sincere.”