Points of Dispensing (PODs)

Working to keep Washington County safe

In some health emergencies, the Washington County Department of Public Health and Environment may need to dispense medication to our residents through an Open Point of Dispensing (Open POD). We will also share accurate, up-to-date information about the emergency. The department trains our staff to respond to public health emergencies, in collaboration with state and local partners.

A pandemic or measles outbreak are two examples of diseases that could prompt the Washington County Department of Public Health and Environment to set up an open point of dispensing site (POD). A POD is an efficient way to quickly dispense medication or administer vaccine to our community. Medicine dispensed in response to a local, state or national emergency is free of charge.

Purpose of an Open POD

When a disease outbreak occurs in a community, the private health care system is often busy taking care of those who are most ill. The public health department helps doctors in clinics and hospitals by dispensing medicine to healthy people to prevent illness. Public health will provide information about when and where to report to a POD on our website, via social media, radio, television and newspaper.  

Who can come to an Open POD

Anyone who is not showing symptoms of illness within Washington County can come to a POD to receive medicine regardless of citizenship status or age. You do not need identification to pick up medication for yourself or family members, and family members do not all need to be present to get medication. If you are showing symptoms of sickness, you will be asked to go to your regular clinic for treatment. 

POD PreCheck: Online Screening Tool

The Minnesota Department of Health has developed an online screening tool for residents to complete prior to arriving at a POD. This screening tool is designed to help you identify the best medicine to keep you and your loved ones healthy during a widespread anthrax emergency. One screening form for each individual you are taking medication for is required to receive medication at a POD.

This screening tool is also available to download and print (PDF):

What is a Closed POD?

There are open and closed PODs for distribution of medication, and the majority of the population would receive medication at an open POD. A closed POD is a location operated by a private organization that distributes medicine or medical supplies to a specific group of people, such as that organization’s staff, staff family members, and/or clients. Clients can include residential clients, patients of a medical facility, guests at a hotel, students, parishioners, inmates, etc. Closed PODs are NOT open to the public at-large and they cannot charge for the medication they provide.

Being a Closed POD is beneficial in several ways. It is expected that in an emergency, medical providers, such as hospitals and clinics, will be overwhelmed. Closed PODs offer the ability to directly receive medication that will allow for continuity of business as well as minimize the impact of the public health emergency on staff, their families, and your clients. Close PODs offer a level of safety and security customized to meet your organization’s needs. If you are interested in becoming a Closed POD, email Angela.Eastman@co.washington.mn.us for more information.