Two Dakota County programs that improve the quality of life for residents and save taxpayer money have received national recognition. An innovative approach to treating tuberculosis and the County's growing volunteer and intern program received achievement awards from the National Association of Counties. Staff involved in the programs were recognized last month by the Dakota County Board of Commissioners for their work.
The video directly observed therapy program for TB treatment received a 2019 NACo award in the health category. Tuberculosis is a contagious disease requiring 6–12 months of daily medication for treatment, typically administered during in-home visits with a public health nurse. Dakota County averages 10 active TB cases per year. Video-assisted therapy is intended to improve the care and efficiency of treatment by allowing nurses to complete daily check-ins with patients by video rather than by driving to meet with them at home each day. Patients have more flexibility in the timing of their treatment, and the process is less-intrusive. Telemedicine gives nurses more time to manage an increased caseload. There is a cost savings as well. The County estimated savings of $22,350 in the first year of the program.
NACo also recognized Dakota County's thriving volunteer and intern program, which continues to grow, serve new areas and save taxpayer dollars. Volunteers complete a variety of work for the County, including in the parks, at library locations and for public health, community corrections and environmental resources. Volunteers restore habitat in County parks, help students with their homework, research historical information, clean up roadways, assist the Sheriff's Office and complete many other tasks throughout the year.
There were nearly 250 volunteer opportunities just last year. Nearly 5,200 people dedicated 43,600 hours of their time volunteering in 2018, saving the County more than $1 million.
To learn about volunteer and intern opportunities, visit the Volunteer and Internship page.