Porter County will
spend over $1.5 million this year to provide medical care to inmates at the
Porter County Jail.
Tuesday the three
member County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a jail medical
services contract with Quality Correctional Care of Muncie for 2017 through
2019 at a price tag of $1,545,100 per year.
The County recently
ended a three-year contract with Correctional Care Solutions for $1.3
million per year. It was the first time the Jail had a 24-hour licensed
health care staff, a requirement now under the guidelines of the National
Institute of Corrections.
Reynolds told the Commissioners Tuesday that his department did a
comparative analysis of which contractor would be most responsive to the
Jail’s needs and a contract that would be “the best bang for our buck” in
concern for the taxpayers, even though “this is a lot of money.”
QCC is largely
exclusive to Indiana, serving 44 of the 92 counties, and is familiar with
what the County’s needs are, Reynolds said. The County would get better
care, staffing and support, he said. It will negotiate the cost of
prescription drugs which are $90,000 per year.
asked of them that we wanted they complied with,” Reynolds said. “To me,
that goes a long way.”
Department Business Manager Edie Hahn said the number of nurses will
increase. Reynolds said some of the nurses hired by Correction Care
Solutions will be staying on with the new contract.
“We made it clear
we don’t want them gone. There are several of them sitting here today. They
come to work and represent the County very well,” said Reynolds.
The demand for
medical services has increased over the years at the Jail, Reynolds said.
“It’s a major operation in there. It’s like a hospital, 24/7. Where we have
taken it is a lot better than what it was. We can take it even further.”
Biggs, R-North, said he was “alarmed” by the cost but the County must
provide it under federal and state mandates. It would be a much higher cost
to the County if not for the medical services provider, facing legal
President Jeff Good, R-Center, said the cost has an “economic impact” to
Porter County, signifying the problem it has with drug use.
“I think what we
see today is the financial impact of the County. We hear the heartbreaking
stories. It translates back to your government and the money we’re spending
on jail medical is a lot,” Good said. He commended the Sheriff’s Department
for using due diligence in finding a medical provider.
In other actions,
the Commissioners agreed to other contracts for the jail, including one with
Frontline Foundations to offer its faith-based substance abuse program to
Known as “The God
Pod,” the program, paid for with a grant last year for the male inmates, has
been well-received, Reynolds said. The department will be using about $5,000
out of user fees to provide the program for a few months and is hoping for a
grant this year to carry it further.
The number of
female inmates has increased from about eleven in 1999 to around 75 today,
Reynolds added, with most primarily drug related.
also approved extending a contract with Copier Consultants for service and
copier maintenance and Colleen Dougherty for intel analysis work for the
Sheriff’s Department’s Heroin Overdose Response Team.
discussed at-length two vendor proposals submitted for the upcoming
delinquent property certificate sale sometime this spring.
Vicki Urbanik said a certificate sale follows the County Tax Sale, which was
held last October. Properties not sold on a lien at the tax sale will now be
available at the Commissioners’ certificate sale. Tax certificates can be
sold at a reduced amount from the delinquent taxes. The goal, Urbanik said,
is to put the parcels back on the tax rolls and stop recycling them each
year at tax sales.
The last time the
County had a certificate sale was in 2013 in an online format which did not
receive a lot of traffic so the upcoming sale will be held live, she said.
This year there are 491 parcels listed, compared to 281 parcels in 2013.
proposals was the tax sale vendor SRI Inc., of Indianapolis, and Onyx
Electronics, of Valparaiso, both offering to run the sale on a fee-based
percentage. Each parcel sold, the vendor would receive a certain percentage
that is directly deducted from the sale price, Urbanik said.
SRI proposed an
all-included 15 percent fee while Onyx offered 7 percent plus additional
costs. Urbanik said she has sought to get clarification on what those extra
costs would be. The Onyx proposal did not provide legal services like SRI
did, she said. SRI has since proposed to match Onyx’s percentage fee.
Biggs and Blaney
said they would like to get further clarification from Onyx on what the
extra charges would be.
Commissioner’s meeting may be held to award the contract for the certificate
sale in early February to expedite the process for the Auditor’s Office.
Urbanik said the contract could be awarded at the Commissioners’ next
scheduled meeting on Feb. 21 but her office would have to move “very, very
quickly” to have the sale in mid-April before property tax bills go out.
Commissioners approved Urbanik’s request to contract with Darren Bates of
Data Pit Stop to assist in the data conversion of the County’s new financial
system, taking over for contractor and former County IT Director Sharon
The system is being
upgraded by Low Associates. The Auditor’s Office is currently moving the DOS
based operating system into a Windows operating system format.
Urbanik said Bates
had assisted the County before in 2015 with the excise tax program.
Low is anticipating
the system could be ready and conversion completed in April. Departments
will be trained on it as the County will be essentially “starting from
scratch,” Urbanik said.
The system “will
make our operations more efficient” with fewer errors and data entry will be
less arduous, Urbanik said.