Chesterton Tribune


Sheriff seeks firm to provide more medical staff for jail

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In their meeting Tuesday, the Porter County Board of Commissioners gave the County Sheriff’s Department its consent to draft a Request For Proposals for a new private company to increase medical staffing and hours at the county jail.

The Sheriff’s Department as of now has four registered nurses who are employed by the county but are directed by Advanced Correctional Healthcare in Peoria, Ill., an arrangement that has been in place since 2006.

Sheriff David Lain restated his opinion that the medical needs are the most urgent of the jail since he does not have any medical staff at the jail between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

“We can no longer as a County have that kind of liability exposure,” Lain said. Without a medical staff present, the county risks litigation of a few million dollars, he added.

The RFP is expected to be finalized by County Attorney Betty Knight and approved by the Commissioners at their next meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 7. After that, Lain will meet with the prospective company and hopes to hire 13 new medical nurses with the provider by January. One of those nurses will fill in at the Juvenile Service Center. Right now, JSC has two part-time nurses working.

The added staff will cost approximately $800,000, comparable to the $250,000 currently with ACH. Funding for the measure will need to be approved first by the County Council.

Lain said the RFP contains many options that providers may be open to and will be put up on his Website.

Insurance orientation

In other business matters, the Commissioners unanimously approved a request by the County Auditor’s office and the insurance service agent Mike Anton of Anton Insurance to orientate new County employees about their insurance options.

This would lighten the increased workload for two employees in the auditor’s office tasked with handling insurance matters.

For the change, the Commissioners agreed to pay the insurance agency an additional 85 cents per employee each month.

“I appreciate you taking that on. It is a difficult task,” Porter County Commissioner President John Evans, R-North, said.

In other matters, a new job description for a mapping coordinator was approved for the E-911 Communications Center with a salary of $39,800.

For the annual MS4 Stormwater Quality program report, County Surveyor Kevin Breitzke said the costs this year were $20,000 which goes to education and supplies. “It’s a nominal sum for implementing a positive program and we are really getting a big bang for the buck,” Breizke said.



Posted 10/17/2012