FAQ

What is Public Health?

Public health is an essential service guaranteed to all residents by Washington State law. From drinking water safety and restaurant inspections, to tobacco use prevention, and disease prevention and control, the work of public health is to help communities to be safe and healthy. Public health prevention efforts have been responsible for 25 years of the nearly 30-year improvement in life expectancy at birth in the United States since 1900.

How is “Public Health” different from “Health Care”?

Health care focuses on delivering services to the individual to treat illness and maintain health. Public health focuses on helping communities to be safer and healthier. For example, doctors treat individual patients for a specific disease or injury, usually providing medical care only on a part-time basis, namely, when the patient is ill (e.g., treating a patient with an E. coli infection). Public health professionals, on the other hand, monitor and respond to the health concerns of entire communities and promote healthy practices and behaviors to assure that our populations stay healthy (e.g., responding to an E. coli outbreak in the community and working to prevent future outbreaks). Health care and public health work together to ensure individual and community well being.

What do Public Health Agencies Do?

The work of public health can be summarized in three categories:

  • Essential programs for improving health: Programs such as immunizations, communicable disease prevention, and chronic disease and injury prevention help individuals and communities stay healthy.
  • Information that works: Educational and training programs on everything from infant mortality to healthy aging, information on community health trends, and statewide health and safety information provide individuals and communities with information they can use to make good decisions.
  • Protecting you and your family every day: Services such as drinking water quality monitoring, septic system inspections, restaurant inspections, hazardous waste control, disease prevention and planned community crisis response ensure individual and community health and safety.

How is Public Health Funded?

Public health and human services are funded by a combination of local, state and federal dollars. The Department budget is approved by the Board of County commissioners. Annually about 91% of the budget is supported by state and federal grants, 1% fees, and 8% local tax dollars. For detailed budget information, see the county budget page.

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INFORMATION ON BIRTH AND DEATH CERTIFICATES:

1. I was born and adopted in Washington State, how can I get my original birth certificate?

In the State of Washington, adoption records are sealed. One possibility would be to hire a “confidential intermediary” to assist you in your searching for your birth parents. Contact the King County Superior Court Adoption Service at 206-296-9350 for information. They are located in the King County Courthouse, 516 Third Avenue, Room W-280, Seattle, WA 98104.

2. I received my birth certificate but I see errors – or – I have changed my name recently. How can I make changes or edits on my birth record?

The Affidavit for Correction form is on the back of the certified certificate along with instructions and it must be returned within one year of the date it was issued to receive a replacement copy free of charge. The certificate will not be available until the Department of Health in Olympia processes the change affidavit.

If you do not see the affidavit printed on the back, click here to download the Affidavit for Correction in PDF format.

3. How do I obtain my birth certificate?
Obtaining certificates from the Washington State DOH website. You can get a copy of a birth certificate from our office if you were born in Washington State. Please call 360-875-9343 for the South Bend office or 360-642-9343 to reach the South Bend office from Long Beach. You can also access the website to apply online.

4. I had a family member die in Pacific County. Can I get a copy of the death certificate from your office? Yes you can order certified copies of the death certificate from our office or you can order them online from Washington State

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FAMILY PLANNING

1. How much does it cost to get on birth control? What if I don’t have any money or insurance?
Women and men regardless of age, sexual orientation, or ability to pay are welcome at Pacific County Public Health and Human Services. Our fees are on a sliding scale basis, which means our fees are based on a client’s income, and may be reduced to zero. No one is turned away because they cannot afford to pay.
We also accept Medicaid insurance and if you are not currently on Take Charge, we can assist you with applying for that program. Take Charge is an insurance program through the State that, if you financially qualify, will pay for birth control for a year and the exams needed. Family planning web page

2. Do I have to tell my parents or do I need their permission to get birth control?
In Washington State all family planning services are confidential, which means we will not tell your parents or guardian that we are seeing you for services without your permission. It also means you do not need their written permission to obtain services like birth control, annual exams, STI/STD tests or even pregnancy tests. If they should call we would not be able to tell them if you were being seen or not. All of our services are confidential, meaning we cannot tell anyone about your visits to our clinic or give out any information about your visits.
We do encourage all teens to talk to their parents about their care with us but that is your choice not ours. The only exception would be if you had a life threatening illness that we needed to contact your parents for.

3. Some of the people that work there have kids that go to my school or my mom is good friends with one of the people that work there, will they find out I am there being seen for birth control?
We value our clients privacy and will not pass any information onto friends, family or children about who is seen in our clinic. We pride ourselves on the confidentiality of our clinics and the protection of the information shared with us by our clients. We will not break that trust by telling anyone else that we have seen or talked to you.

4. Is birth control safe?
Any medication can have side effects but birth control is a very safe medication. Our nurse practitioner takes care to discuss any medical condition or health concern you may have so that we can find the birth control that works best for you. We will also discuss all of the potential side effects so that you can help with the decision of what works best for you.

All of the birth control methods that we list on our website are safe to use. However, most birth control methods do have some side effects. The good news: most side effects are only temporary and go away after your body adjusts to a new birth control method.

You can find out about different birth control methods by visiting Seattle King County’s Birth Control Gallery

We have brochures at our clinic that give a brief description of the different birth control methods along with common side effects.

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5. I don’t have a doctor and need a woman’s health exam, can I come there?
We do offer health exams for women in need of birth control. We also provide services for women who qualify for the Breast, Cervical, and Colon Health Program. BCCHP

6. I missed one of my birth control pills. What should I do? Do you think I can get pregnant?
For most birth control pills if you miss only one pill you should not have any problem and they should still be effective. If you missed one birth control pill you should take it as soon as you realize you missed it, and then take your next one at its regular time. Continue to take one pill every day as usual

If you have any questions you can always call our health department and talk to one of our nurses. .

If you have missed 2 pills, take two pills as soon as you remember, take two more pills the next day, and then go back to taking one pill every day at your usual time. Use back up method (like condoms or abstinence) for the next 7 days.

If you miss two pills in a row during the third week or three pills at anytime, call your provider- you may need emergency contraception. Continue to take one pill a day until you talk to your provider but use a back up method.

Missing pills can cause spotting or bleeding between your periods and also can make the pills less effective so be sure to take them every day as instructed.

EC : Don’t Forget About Emergency Contraception (EC)! If you’ve missed more than 2 pills, and you have unprotected sex, EC can help prevent you from getting pregnant.

7. How long after I start on birth control will it take to be effective?
We recommend using a back up method for 30 days after starting a new method or switching to a new method to be sure you are protected.

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PLAN B

1. I had unprotected sex last night, or the condom broke, I really don’t want to get pregnant. Is there something I can do?
Plan B is a safe method which can help decrease the risk that you will not get pregnant. It is an over the counter medication for people 17 years and older. This can be purchased by either males or females. If you are under 17 you need to have a prescription or you can make an appointment to come to our health department and see one of our nurses. contact information

2. How soon after I have unprotected sex do I need to take plan B?
You should take Plan B within 5 days of unprotected sex.

3. Will it make me sick?
Plan B is a type of birth control so it may cause nausea. Most women have few side effects.

4. Is Plan B the same as the abortion pill?
No they are not the same medication. Plan B will not cause an abortion if you are already pregnant.

5. How much does Plan B cost?
The cost at our clinic for over the counter is $20.00, it is slightly more if you have to see a nurse but the cost is based on your income and it could possibly slide to -0-.

6. Can guys get Plan B or just girls?
If you are 17 or over guys can obtain Plan B for their girlfriends. If you are under 17 males cannot get Plan B for their partners.

7. Do I have to make an appointment or can I just come in?
If you are 17 or over you can come in, if you are under 17 please call to make sure we have a nurse available to see you.

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Pregnancy Testing

1. I think I might be pregnant. Can I come there to be tested?
We do pregnancy testing during our family planning clinic. If you have missed a period and there is a possibility you are pregnant please call our clinic.

2. I think I am pregnant and am not sure what I want to do? Can someone there help me?
Our staff would be able to offer you a pregnancy test to confirm the pregnancy and then discuss options you have with pregnancy and to help you find resources for any of option you should choose.

3. Do you do abortions there?
We do not provide abortions at our clinics but we are able to help with referrals to a clinic that would be able to help you with this. We also have staff that are able to talk to you and offer information and support in your decisions.

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Breast and Cervical Health Program

1. I am over 40 and need a pap smear and mammogram but cannot afford it. Where can I go for this?
You may qualify for a free women’s health exam, including mammogram if you: Are age 40 to 64, are on a limited income, have no or limited insurance. For more information on the Washington Breast & Cervical Health Program, call 1-800-992-1817. For other languages, toll free 1-888-202-3301. They can help you with the application and then assist you in making an appointment with either our clinic or another provider that offers this program

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Environmental Health

1. Who do I need to talk to about installing or repairing a well or septic?
P
lease contact the Department of Community Development at (360) 875-9356 or (360) 642-9382 or visit their website at www.co.pacific.wa.us/dcd

2. Where do I go to get my water tested?
Please contact the Department of Community Development at (360) 875-9356 or (360) 642-9382 or visit their website at www.co.pacific.wa.us/dcd.

3. How do I get my food handler’s card?
For your convenience you can now obtain your food handlers card on-line. Please contact the Department of Community Development at (360) 875-9356 or (360) 642-9382 or visit their website at www.co.pacific.wa.us/dcd for more information.

4. I got sick after eating at one of the local restaurants. Who should I report this to?
You can either call Department of Community Development at the above numbers or the health department.

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Medical and Financial Assistance

1. Where do I go to see if I, or my children, qualify for medical assistance or Medicaid?
Please contact the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) at or you can apply on-line at…………. http://www.dshs.wa.gov

2. Where do I go to find out if I can get food stamps?
Please contact the Department of Social and Health Services at or you can apply on-line at…………. http://www.dshs.wa.gov

3. Where do I apply, or make an appointment to talk to someone about my welfare benefits?
Please contact the Department of Social and Health Services at or you can apply on-line at…………. http://www.dshs.wa.gov

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Child Abuse and Neglect

1. I need to talk to someone about a child who is being neglected or abused?Reports of suspected child abuse or neglect should be reported to Child Protective Services. There is someone available 24 hours a day to take your report.The number to contact is 1-866-ENDHARM (1-866-363-4276*)

2. Do I have to give my name if I make a report to CPS? Will they tell the people who I am reporting who made the report if I do give my name?
You can ask to keep your name confidential and it will not be released. If CPS investigates they simply say they are received reports about some concerns. Call 1-866-ENDHARM (1-866-363-4276*)

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Paternity

1. Do you do paternity testing there? How much does it cost? When will I get results?
The health department does not offer paternity testing for the general public. Through a special contract with DSHS and the Prosecuting Attorney’s office we do collect paternity samples for those who they refer or are court-ordered.The individual(s) does not make an appointment.You will receive notice from the lab and/or whoever has ordered the tests when you need to come to the health department to be tested and what paperwork you need to bring with you.The health department does not charge for collecting the paternity tests-any charges that you may be responsible for will be discussed with you by the agency ordering the test. Results are provided to the agency that ordered the test and they will notify you of the results.The health department does not receive any results.Generally it takes at 2-4 weeks to get results from a paternity test once all the parties have been tested.

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Immunizations

Are they safe?

How can I find out what immunizations my child needs?

Where do I get a copy of my child’s immunization record for school or college?

Do adults need to get immunizations? Do you give adults shots there?

Where do I go to get immunizations? How much will it cost?

WIC

Smoking in Public Places

TB Skin Testing

AIDS Training Certification for Employment

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Requests for Public Records:

We provide access to public records in accordance with the Washington State Public Records Act. Requests can be made by submitting a Public Records Request form to Pacific County General Administration. To find more information or to make a request, click here:
http://www.co.pacific.wa.us/PublicRecords/index

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HIPAA/Privacy Practices:

Our agency protects the privacy of personal information, under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996. This Notice of Privacy Practices (PDF) is provided to clients describing how health information may be used and disclosed, and how clients can access the information. For more information, please call (360) 875-9343 or (360) 642-9349.

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Disclaimer:

Pacific County and its elected and appointed officers, employees and agents do not warrant the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of any information contained in this web site and shall not be held liable for any costs or losses of any kind caused by any reliance on such information. Portions of such information may be incorrect or not current. Any person or entity who relies on any information contained herein does so at his, her or its own risk and website visitors are encourage to consult with Pacific County’s officers, employees and agents directly to confirm the accuracy, reliability and timeliness of such information before any reliance is made.

All changes to birth records are handled by the Washington State Dept. of Health in Olympia. If you were born between the years of 1949 to 1967, no times were reported on births. You should check with the hospital where you were born to see if they have retained original records of your birth which may indicate the time.

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