Some progress has been made months into Porter County Sheriff David Lain’s
“arduous” effort to provide the County Jail with adequate medical staffing.
At Tuesday’s Commissioner meeting, Lain announced he has decided on two
firms he would like to include in the overall health care package.
For providing pharmaceutical services, Lain recommended InTouch
Pharmaceuticals of Valparaiso and, for dental services, Dental Delivery
Systems of Indianapolis.
Both are contingent on a vote of approval from the Board of County
Commissioners. Lain said he expects to have all firms related to the package
ready to recommend at the Commissioners’ next meeting on Tuesday, May 21.
That would also include the provider for the nursing staff.
Lain said he and the committee tasked with looking at different vendors’
proposals have narrowed it down to two “finalists” for a nursing provider --
Correct Care Solutions based in Nashville, Tenn. and Correctional Healthcare
Companies of Greenwood Village, Colo. Final interviews are scheduled for
Thursday, May 16.
The costs listed in the proposals range from $900,000 to $1.2 million
annually, Lain said.
County Commissioner President John Evans, R-North, in March ordered that a
review be conducted of all the sheriff’s budgets in hopes of finding some
funds to support the new nursing positions.
“It’s going to be expensive no matter which way we go with it,” Evans said
Lain said the jail is down to just three nurses on staff. He hopes to have
the numbers beefed up by June, which is two months later than what he
originally hoped for. The process has been delayed several times to more
fully evaluate each vendor’s proposal.
Raise the Barn! says Evans
Before adjourning the meeting, Evans said he was “very disappointed” that
two members of the County Council voted against the County Parks
Departments’ request for $1.5 million in hospital interest money for the
Raise the Barn education and administration center at Sunset Hill Farm
County Park last month, thus causing it to fail.
Council members Jim Biggs, R-1st, and Jeremy Rivas, D-2nd, both said they
support the project but gave temporary no votes in light of the funding
dilemma regarding the nursing staff at the jail, saying a long-term funding
plan is needed for the county.
Evans said that the jail’s medical staff would need to have permanent
funding but the Raise the Barn center is a one-time capital expenditure
which the council mambers have decided to “hold hostage.” Thirteen years
after the concept was first introduced by the parks department, Evans
implored the Council to hold a new vote.
“We thought we were finally able to get it going,” he said.
Use of hospital interest money requires majority votes from both the
Commissioners and the Council. The Commissioners previously voted 2-0 in
favor of the project.
Parks Superintendent Walter Lenckos, at last week’s park board meeting, said
he would present the request again at the next County Council meeting.
In other business, the board approved 2-0 on first reading to update the
county’s ordinance related to illicit discharge and connection to stormwater
drains and establishment of its MS4 program. The ordinance prohibits any
individual from discharging any pollutants into watercourses or using any
illicit connection to stormwater drains.
MS4 Coordinator Rich Hudson said this is one of the milestones that the new
MS4 advisory committee has reached.
Also, the Commissioners approved a proclamation observing the celebration of
National Nurses Week this week May 6-12.
Absent Tuesday was County Commissioner Laura Shurr Blaney, D-South.