Chesterton Tribune



Commissioners sign another year with Porter Health and prepare Animal Shelter site

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Porter Health Care Systems will continue to be the wellness and clinic provider to Porter County government as the Commissioners on Tuesday approved an agreement for next year, 3-0.

The County switched its clinical services agreement to Porter at the end of 2012, ending a partnership with HealtheACCESS.

County Commissioner President John Evans, R-North, said a higher percentage of employees are utilizing the service now than when it was run by HealtheACCESS.

Mike Anton, principal with Anton Insurance, agreed that was “basically true” with 20 to 30 visits per month with HealtheACCESS and about 50 or so visits monthly with Porter Health.

Porter CEO Steve Lunn said the service saw 656 County employees last year and this year it’s expected to be more with approximately 667.

The agreement will be the same for next year with the County paying $20 per visit and the employee contributing $10 out of pocket. There are three CareExpress Urgent Care clinics open currently in Chesterton, Valparaiso and Portage.

Evans praised the fact the clinics are equipped with diagnostic equipment such as x-ray machines, saying he’s heard “nothing but very good things” about the service.

Anton added, “Every time we have someone who goes to the urgent care clinic, we’re going to save dollars,” and it improves the overall health of the employee.

Shelter site to be cleared

In other business, the Commissioners asked the Highway Department to begin clearing the site of the future County Animal Shelter facility on a five-acre parcel between the County Fairgrounds and the Sheriff’s Department on Ind. 49.

The request was made after Commissioner Jeff Good, R-Center, announced the technical review committee is ready to start its Request for Qualifications process. The responses will be reviewed after Jan. 1 and the committee will narrow its consideration to three firms and will then proceed with a Request for Proposals, Good said.

The hope is to start construction next spring. “Stay tuned. There will be more updates, but we’ve lit the trail so we’re starting to move forward,” Good said.

Evans said since there is no snow now and temperatures continue to stay mild, there’s no reason the work can’t begin now.

“It’s our property. I don’t know why we are waiting,” Evans said.

Highway Superintendent David James said he will set up a meeting to see what needs to be taken down. The property contains a vacant home that the County has used in the past for several purposes and a few outbuildings.

Good said that soil borings will need to be conducted prior to leveling the buildings.

In other matters:

-- Matthew Stechly will be the County’s new facilities manager, succeeding former maintenance director Jerry Bryan, after being offered the position prior to the start of the Commissioners’ meeting. His first day will be Jan. 4, Evans said, and he will deal with the heating and cooling of all County facilities. “He’s got a pretty tough job,” Evans said.

-- The Commissioners will pay $200,000 and the Sheriff’s Department $100,000 towards a new lease with VideoTec for the new integral security system at Porter County Jail. The Commissioners also agreed to use $4,500 in its budget for the extended service agreement on the Jail’s kitchen dishwasher. The Department said it will pay for the services later on.

-- The route for the Ringing in the Spring 5k/10k walk in Valparaiso was okayed by the Commissioners.



Posted 12/16/2015




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