The Benton Franklin Health Board on Wednesday unanimously appointed a Wisconsin pediatrician to replace longtime health officer Dr. Larry Jecha.
Dr. Amy Person of Milwaukee started work at the Benton Franklin Health District this week to learn the ropes from Jecha, who will retire Nov. 18.
Jecha has worked for the district full time as its health officer since 1996, and also held the position from 1988-92, when he left to become director of the Wichita-Sedgwick County Department of Community Health in his native Kansas to be closer to family.
He also was the Benton Franklin Health District's administrator until the job became a separate full-time position and Jason Zaccaria took over in May.
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Person has been in medical practice for 20 years and is board-certified in pediatrics in Wisconsin and Washington. She earned her M.D. from the University of Illinois.
She has been an assistant professor of pediatrics at Medical College of Wisconsin and has worked in epidemiology research, Zaccaria said.
Person told the Herald that she wanted to relocate to the Tri-Cities to care for her parents.
The position is slightly more than half-time and pays $92,000. Zaccaria said that's a little lower than the average for health officers in the state.
Zaccaria said Person should be fully credentialed to practice at the health district -- and to have services billed under her medical license -- by the time Jecha leaves in November.
He told the board in August that getting a new health officer credentialed might take some time and he was concerned the district could experience losses or delays in payment if that hadn't happened by the time Jecha wanted to leave.
Board member Shon Small, also a Benton County commissioner, thanked Zaccaria for his quick work getting a qualified, new health officer in place.