City of Independence Mayor Eileen Weir today announced the City of Independence Health Department has been recognized by the State of Missouri.
“The year 2020 has shown all of us the importance of public health and we have been working diligently with our State of Missouri partners to take steps to re-establish the standalone Health Department for the City of Independence,” Mayor Eileen Weir said. “We received official word late last week that all steps had been approved. We are now working to ensure that we have access to the necessary regional collaborations, grants and resources we need to provide our citizens with the valuable care needed during the COVID-19 pandemic and their daily lives.”
In 2018, the City reorganized health department functions to eliminate redundant services found in the Jackson County Health Department with the goal to provide more efficient services to citizens and businesses.
“We are constantly looking at options to provide our citizens efficient and effective services,” Mayor Eileen Weir said. “None of us saw a health emergency of this scale on the horizon in 2018, but we have learned that we need more resources in our area to support the citizens we serve. We will work closely with our partners at the State and Jackson County and the City of Independence Advisory Board of Health to resume Health Department functions for the City of Independence.”
Christina Heinen will continue serving as Acting Health Director as part of this transition. She has served as Acting Health Director since the departmental realignment in 2018, and has been guiding the City’s COVID-19 response since the Mayor’s Declaration of Emergency in Independence on March 13. As a member of the Incident Command Team, she has been instrumental in completing nearly 8,000 COVID-19 test for residents of Independence and the Kansas City Metro Region.
“We have begun the process to reform services needed to provide for the health of our citizens and businesses within the Department,” Heinen said. “We will work closely with the Board of Health and the Incident Command Team to provide further guidance to our citizens throughout this ongoing public health emergency.”
City staff will seek all available grant funding for the department and are working with state and federal leaders to find all available funding for these services.