The Switzerland County Health Department has a new administrator.
Carly Archer officially assumed the duties of overseeing the Health Department last month, and is still busy learning all of the ins and outs of the department — a tall order especially in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In her new position, Archer has a lot of duties and responsibilities that cast a wide net.
“The budget, obviously, managing the staff,” she said of her various duties. “Luckily we have an outstanding staff of people here who are excellent at their jobs.”
Currently there are five people working on the staff of the Switzerland County Health Department:
• Joyce Fields in the County Health Nurse.
• Mark Helt is the County Sanitarian.
• Kelli Jester is the County Food Inspector.
• Mark Reed is the County Public Health Coordinator.
• Angie Splain is a part time County Health Nurse.
As for assuming this new position in the midst of the COVID pandemic, Archer says it’s been different.
“Thankfully I’ve dealt with that overall in my old role at KDH,” she said. “We dealt a lot with COVID and the COVID vaccines and the COVID testing, so that’s helped a lot.”
Archer comes to the Switzerland County Health Department from King’s Daughters’ Health, where she served as the manager of physician health services.
“I managed all the physician health offices, and then during the pandemic, we opened up a COVID isolation clinic, which I managed,” Archer said. “We dealt with all patients who needed to be seen for COVID testing, or who thought that they may have COVID — we brought them into an isolation clinic. That helped a lot, knowing the state’s process with testing and other procedures.”
Among others in the area, Archer was also responsible for the COVID testing site that has been ongoing at the Switzerland County Medical Building through Dr. Scott Frede’s office.
“That’s actually through the state,” Archer said of the county’s COVID clinic. “I opened that up with a grant that came through the state. That helped a lot, because it’s the same thing with the COVID vaccine grant.”
Archer said that the grant which provides the COVID testing here is set to end on June 1st, so other grants and options may need to be found if there is a need for the testing clinic to continue.
“The state hasn’t advised us on what’s going to happen there, yet,” she said.
Aside from dealing with COVID, Archer says it’s been a real learning experience dealing with all of the other areas that fall under the responsibility of the health department here — many of which county residents may not think about.
“I’ve been learning a lot,” she said. “Sanitation. Food Inspection. Septics. Complaints as far as septic systems and trash and environmental issues. That’s been a learning curve for me. Thankfully Mark and Kelli and Joyce and Mark Reed have been very helpful there, as well and Dr. Frede and Dr. Findley. There’s a lot more to it than just medical policies.”
For example, county sanitation deals with issues such as people who need septic system permits; using the website to figure out exactly where they can be placed and the measurement requirements.
“There’s a lot more than just health,” she said. “Food inspections. Food permits. When we have the First Friday events, the food trucks have to have a permit to set up and operate. There’s a lot more that goes on. I’m learning.”
Archer’s hiring also brings the Switzerland County native back home.
“It’s good to be here in my hometown and get to see everyone who comes in and be helpful, it’s nice,” Archer said.
Archer is a 2001 graduate of Switzerland County High School, and from there she began her career in healthcare.
“I started at KDH in medical records, and then while I was working there, I became a medical assistant,” she said. “I worked as a medical assistant and in physician practices up until about 2010 or 2011, and that’s when I became a nurse. I went to the ER when I was going through nursing school, and then I stayed in the ER as a nurse until 2015, and then I went back to physician practices as the supervisor/director.”
In that role, Archer was responsible for the all of the physician practices offices —including Dr. Frede’s office here. She was responsible for managing the clinic at Versailles, and all other satellite offices.
“I also managed the main campus medical building,” she said. “I feel like all of that background has set me up pretty well for what I deal with here, as far as managing staff, community complaints and all of that.”
And she has some big shoes to fill.
Archer takes the place of Betty Lucas, who started the Switzerland County Health Department from scratch in 1967 and served as the administrator until she retired last May.
“Betty and Donna (Faber), both of them,” Archer said. “Donna has been super helpful. She’s come in a few times, because Donna left before I started, so there was probably a month when we didn’t have an administrator, so I’ve had to lean on Donna quite a bit. She’s come in and helped with the budget and other things. Just things I wouldn’t know without her being able to help me.”
Archer is married to Adam Archer, who serves on the Switzerland County Sheriff’s Department. The family resides near Pleasant with their four children: Halle, age 15; Adalyn, age 10; Beckham, age 7; and Jet, who is 5.
As her children become more and more busy, working here in the county is another positive for Carly.
“It’s working and it’s working well,” she said. “I’m very glad to be here. When someone calls, one — I know them; and two — I know the area that they’re talking about. It’s helpful. I can relate to the area. And also everyone at the courthouse who I deal with on a daily basis, has been great. It’s been nice to know who you’re dealing with.”