When people drive by or enter the Watonwan County Human Services there are a number of different resources that think about as being available there.

There is however one department that not many people may think of human services as being part of or know what they are and that is Public Health.

The department provides a number of different voluntary services for people in the county including things like vaccinations for insured and uninsured people to things like the WIC program and environmental health.

Next week is a special week for the public health community as it is national Public Health week from April 2-8 2018.

Each day is a different theme all with the importance of promoting public health locally and throughout the country.

Watonwan County locally provides many of these services which helps many people especially those with obstacles like reliable transportation,economic hardships and other obstacles. Having these services provided locally also adds a convenience of being able to have many  services provided without having to leave the county.

Watonwan County Public Health provides the following services.


WIC is a nutrition and voucher program for pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, and infants/children under the age of 5 years. WIC includes a nutritional assessment, height and weight, and a blood test.

Please call to confirm eligibility for this program.



Child and Teen Checkups (C&TC) are covered for children ages birth through 20 years who are enrolled in Medical Assistance.

C&TC is the name for Minnesota’s Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) Program.

Although Watonwan County Public Health sees children up to age 13.

Please call to confirm eligibility for this program.


What’s included in a C&TC visit?

·         Information about good physical and mental health

·         Complete physical exam

·         Immunizations

·         Hearing check

·         Vision check

·         Lab tests

·         Dental Varnishing

·         Checks on development and growth

·         Referral to the dentist

·         Time to ask questions and get answers about your child’s health, behavior and development

·         Time to discuss thoughts, feelings and relationships



The Minnesota Vaccines for Children (MnVFC) program is Minnesota's version of the federal Vaccines for Children program which works to make all vaccines accessible and affordable for all children within their medical homes. Please call to confirm eligibility for this program.


Immunizations are also provided for adults who are uninsured and underinsured.

Must be 19+

No insurance

Insurance that doesn’t pay for the needed shot.

Please call to confirm eligibility for this program.


Disease Prevention and Control-

Public Health Nurses follow up with residents who have either been exposed to Tuberculosis (TB) or have active Tuberculosis. Nurses provide education about TB. They can also facilitate residents getting medications to treat the TB. The nurse assistance and the medications are provided at no charge.


MCH- Maternal and Child Health  

Pregnant women and families with infants and children under 3 years old are provided information on healthy pregnancy, infant development, and parenting. In addition to written information, nurses are available for phone consultation and/or visits at WIC, CTC, or immunization clinics.


What will the nurse or family home visitor do?

We can talk about mom's recovery, breastfeeding, family planning, and refer to other resources such as WIC and ECFE. We can weigh the baby, check for skin color, cord care, eating and sleeping patterns, as well as check for home and car seat safety. Suggestions for infant development will be shared and this is a good opportunity to enroll your baby in the Follow Along Program. We’ll have fun times doing developmental activities and learning together.


How are visits paid for?

Home visits are voluntary and free. These services are reimbursed fully by either insurance or grants. Visits are scheduled around your schedule and as often as you choose.


What can the Public Health Nurse do?

Public Health staff are able to guide you in identifying risks that could harm your baby. The nurse will encourage early and regular prenatal care and assist you in finding ways to pay for your medical care.


What will I learn?

A Public Health Nurse will enhance your knowledge of labor and delivery, fetal development, breast and bottle feeding, nutrition and much more. The nurse will also talk about safety and the proper use of car seats. There are videos and handouts to make learning fun.


Where can I meet with the nurse?

Most any place you are comfortable! Home, school, work, or the Public Health office, the choice is yours.

Maybe you have a friend that would like to come along? That's okay too


Personal Care Assistance (PCA)

PCA is a service paid for by Medical Assistance. To receive PCA, an assessment is completed by a Public Health Nurse. PCA services can help with such things as Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), health-related procedures and tasks, observation and redirection of behaviors, and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs).


Long Term Care Consultation (LTCC)/MnCHOICES

LTCC/MnCHOICES is an assessment by a Public Health Nurse and/or a Social Worker. The assessment is designed to identify the resident’s strengths and needs and help the resident develop a plan of care to meet their needs. The assessment is available to all residents in Watonwan County.




Public health nuisance are community situations that present a health hazard to the community or to vulnerable community residents. Our intervention may be as minimal as providing information on what needs to be done to alleviate the PH nuisance or all-inclusive as cleaning up the situation and billing the landowner for the clean-up.


Food Beverage and Lodging (This is contracted with Brown Nicollet Counties)

This includes licensing, inspecting, and following up on establishments that provide food, beverage, and/or lodging to residents and visitors to our communities. This includes schools as well as other establishments. In addition to the preceding, this also includes consultation for building/remodeling establishments.



SHIP (Contracted with Faribault and Martin County)-

We all want to be healthy, but sometimes we need a helping hand. Thanks to SHIP, our communities are working together to ensure good health for parents, kids and the whole community. The goal of SHIP is to reduce chronic diseases associated with tobacco use and obesity. Through the guidance of our multidisciplinary Community Leadership Team, we support community efforts to:

•        Create safer walking and biking conditions in our communities to encourage walking and biking to school, work, and destinations or just for recreation.

•        Improve access, affordability and availability of health food options at school, work and in the community at restaurants, corner and convenience stores, food shelves, community gardens and farmers’ markets.

•        Establish workplace wellness programs to help employees improve their health and productivity, which decreases healthcare costs for employers.

•        Partner with schools and childcare centers to improve access to healthy foods during the school day and increase opportunities for physical activity, which improves their health, attention spans and have demonstrated improvements on test scores.

•        Partner with local property managers and owners of multi-unit housing to voluntarily adopt smoke-free policies within apartment buildings.

•        Collaborate with our local health care providers to establish evidence-based programs aimed at preventing or managing chronic illnesses, to ensure a higher quality of life.



Emergency Preparedness for Public Health:

Public Health employees work closely with community partners (law enforcement, emergency management, medical clinics, Salvation Army, Red Cross, etc.) to share information, jointly plan and practice how to protect public health incidents, including pandemics and bioterrorism.




Family Planning

Family planning provides regular, confidential, reproductive health exams and education and methods, for persons who do not have health insurance or who have high deductibles that prevent them from seeking regular exams, to prevent unplanned pregnancies.


This is provide through the FPSP (family planning special projects grant) grant. We have applied for this new fiscal year and are looking to increase participation starting in July 2018. Currently we cannot accept new clients for methods, and health exams until our grant is renewed in July. Although we are able to offer condoms, counseling services, and pregnancy testing to those needing them.

The Watonwan County Public Health is managed by Julia Putz who started in May and is looking forward to making many connections in the community to help promote the importance of public health.


The department is managed by Julia Putz who started in May and is looking forward to making connections in the community that will help with making people in the community as healthy as they can be.

“State and local government work together with other organizations to protect and promote the health of the entire population by emphasizing the prevention of disease, injury, disability, and preventable death. This is achieved through regular community health assessment and planning which focuses on identifying the top health needs impacting our communities and developing a plan to address those health needs. This includes promotion of effective coordination between local public health and our community partners and resources, and by extending health services into the community. It is done to assure that all persons have the opportunity to achieve and maintain their best level of health and independence, and lead vital, productive lives,” said Putz.

 “Locally, this mission is accomplished by taking statewide essential local Public Health activities and implementing them within Watonwan County. This is achieved in the most efficient/cost effective manner, while at the same time, assuring the activities fit into the cultural, social, emotional, physical environment within our county. The Public Health system works closely with other Human Services programs and community partners to support residents and their families/friends/neighbors. At the same time we are working to enhance each other’s efforts and avoid duplication of services.”

For more information about public health contact  Julia Putz at julia.putz@co.watonwan.mn.us or by phone (507) 375-7863. The office is located in the Human Services Building.