Chesterton Tribune



Sheriff tells plan for dental and pharmaceutical services at jail

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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 Tuesday.

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.



Posted 5/8/2013





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