Wheeling-Ohio County Board Of Health Adopts Tanning Bed Registrations

The Wheeling-Ohio County Board of Health voted Tuesday to require tanning bed operators to register with the health department.

Administrator Howard Gamble said no comments were received on the proposal during a public comment period between Nov. 15 and Tuesday.

The measure is designed to identify establishments that are to be inspected under state law. Gamble said the state Legislature authorizes local health departments to inspect tanning bed facilities on a regular basis or to investigate complaints.

Registration will supply a database for locating these sites. Gamble estimated three-fourths of the tanning bed parlors can be identified through Wheeling’s business license records, but the remainder are outside the city limits and not subject to business licensing.

The board will not be issuing permits or requiring fees for tanning establishments because state law prohibits such action, he said.

In other matters, Gamble said the state owes more than $180,000 to the health department in federal reimbursement for the regional Women, Infants and Children nutrition program. He said the state is behind in reimbursement to departments statewide from October through January.

Dr. William Mercer, county health director, said about 30 volunteers are helping with the department’s homeless outreach program. Every Friday night, the outreach team visits Northwood Health System’s shelter, the Salvation Army and Youth Services System’s Winter Freeze Shelter and seeks people living under bridges, he said.

Mercer said an anonymous donor provided a grant that was used to build an examination room at the Winter Freeze Shelter, which is located in the Hazel-Atlas Building at 87 15th St.

“I’m very pleased with that,” he said.

Gamble said the department has hired two part-time professionals — registered nurse Crystal Bauer and Dr. Thomas Wack — for the homeless outreach program. The hiring provides liability insurance coverage when they conduct medical examinations, he said.