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More City Health Departments Merging With Their County Departments in Ohio

photo of Cleveland Health Department

City and county health department mergers are a growing trend across Ohio according to the National Association of County and City Health Officials. The group says for more than 70 percent of Ohio cities, those health services are being provided at the county level. Where do Northeast Ohio’s biggest cities stand?

For years, health advocates in Clevelandhave recommended the city consolidate its health department with Cuyahoga County. But city officials say no merger is being considered and declined to comment any further. Summit County Health Commissioner Donna Skoda says her operations have benefited from mergers with Akron and Barberton about 6 years ago.  And, depending on what their goals are, she says if officials asked for her opinion, she would urge them to at least think about consolidation.

“I understand some of the concern that maybe you’re picking up some other problems that you didn’t have, but it really does work for the good of the community. So I would say to those both, at least, seriously consider it. Don’t just give it lip service but look for a way to make it work.”

Skoda says there was little duplication in the Summit County/Akron merger, with each entity actually contributing programs the other didn’t have, and Akron is now saving more than $1 million a year.