Each county in Tennessee has a county health department, with some larger counties having multiple facilities. A total of 89 primarily rural county health departments operate under the direct supervision of the Tennessee Department of Health, headquartered in Nashville, while the six larger, urban counties – Madison, Shelby, Knox, Davidson, Hamilton and Sullivan – have health departments that operate under local governance but work closely with the Tennessee Department of Health. Directors of the 89 primarily rural health departments are appointed by the Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health.
Tennessee’s local health departments provide a variety of health services, both to keep you healthy, and if you are sick, to get you well. We hope you will take advantage of these services.
Healthy children are a major priority of the health department. Well child checkups include physical exams, screening tests and immunizations. Screenings are available to assure normal development and to detect and treat many medical conditions for persons from birth to 21 years of age. The health department strongly recommends regular checkups and makes referrals for medical/dental services to be sure all children are as healthy as they can be.
We provide all CDC-recommended childhood vaccines including immunizations against polio, diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus (lockjaw), measles, mumps, rubella (German measles), hemophilus (meningitis), and hepatitis B. Adult vaccines we provide include: Flu and pneumonia immunizations, tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis boosters, hepatitis A and B vaccines, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and Measles/Mumps/Rubella are available to adults for lasting protection against these diseases.
In many health departments, medical staff are available for diagnosing and treating acute and chronic illnesses, and also provide diagnostic testing such as blood pressure screening and pap smears. Special health counseling is provided as needed. Local health departments participate in TennCare and other insurance programs.
Patients receive a complete physical exam and all appropriate lab tests. Patients are also taught about birth control and may be supplied with a birth control method. Many contraceptive problems can also be treated at all local health departments.
The health department provides confidential testing, treatment, and partner notification for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS
Diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up services for patients with tuberculosis, and their contacts, are provided at health departments. Medication, when needed, is also available.
A nutritionist is available to teach individuals or groups proper nutrition for everyday living. Registered dietitians counsel individuals with special dietary needs such as hypertension, diabetes and weight management.
Vouchers to buy nutritious foods (cheese, milk, cereals, etc.) are issued to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and children under five years of age who are at risk of poor growth, if they meet income guidelines. Breastfeeding classes and support are available to all new mothers.
The CSS program assists with medical treatment for children to age 21, when they have special medical needs and the family is financially unable to provide for necessary care. This program may also include speech and hearing services.
Pregnancy testing, presumptive eligibility screening for Medicaid, and referral for prenatal care are available at all local health departments. Full service prenatal care is available at some health departments.
Home visits are made by a public health nurse to families whose infants may be at risk for medical or developmental problems. This follow-up begins during the prenatal period. Teen mothers and their infants are given highest priority.
Birth and death information is collected and sent to the State's Office of Vital Records. Copies of death certificates are issued upon request. Certified copies of birth certificates for persons born in Tennessee in 1949 or after may be requested through the health department.
A health educator is available to provide educational services to patients, schools and community groups upon request. In some areas, dental hygienists are also available to provide dental education upon request.