CRAWFORD COUNTY - The retirement of Crawford County Health Department Director Gloria Wall will cost the county an $62,518 annually to pay a contracted service to replace her work as the official jail nurse, according to Crawford County Sheriff Dale McCullick.
When Wall was relieved of her duties on October 14 and placed on paid administrative leave, apparently there was no plan in place to replace her as the jail nurse. Faced with discharge by the county board personnel committee for alleged work rule violations involving allowing an employee to take a vacation past a deadline, Wall opted to retire on November 14.
McCullick explained that state law requires any jail inmate held for more than 14 days to have a medical screening. Wall maintained scheduled visits and also responded to non-emergency medical situations as they arose.
The sheriff noted that in addition to regularly scheduled visits, Gloria Wall was available by phone anytime. If she needed to see the inmate, she was across the street in her office at the health department or at home in Eastman and she would drive to the jail.
With Wall’s ability to continue to serve as the jail nurse jeopardized by the actions of the personnel committee, McCullick faced an immediate problem. He decided the best route to follow was to hire Advanced Correctional Healthcare to supply medical services required by the jail. ACH already has contracts with Vernon, Grant and Richland counties to provide medical service to their jails.
On November 1, McCullick appeared at a meeting of the Crawford County Board Finance Committee and advised that his budget would have to be revised to include costs for medical expenses for the jail, according to meeting minutes. The cost is $62,518 and would include a nurse that is on-site 10 hours per week and a doctor that would be on-call 24/7, according to the minutes of that meeting. This figure was added to the sheriff’s budget.
Although the two remaining public health nurses, Michelle Breuer and Lisa Cummer, provided some assistance, they both indicated they were not comfortable with assuming the jail nurse position permanently.
The ACH contract begins this Friday, December 15, according to McCullick. The contract calls for a doctor or a physician’s assistant to make three three-hour-and-twenty-minute visits on every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the sheriff explained. The jail can also call the service as medical needs arise.
Additionally, AHC offers coverage of a $1 million liability insurance policy that will cover the county jail for any lawsuits arising over health care coverage of inmates, according to McCullick.
Vernon County Sheriff John Spears has told McCullick that AHC service has worked very well for that department.
Although it appears the county will have a $62,518 annual contract with AHC for jail health services when the budget is approved next week, the county is still intending to hire a public health supervisor to replace Wall at a salary of $64,498 for their first year and $66,812 after that with full benefits, according to statements made by Dan McWilliams at the county personnel committee meeting of November 29.
McWilliams, the current Director of the Crawford County Human Services Department, is being put forward by the personnel committee to head a merged Crawford County Health and Human Services Department at a salary of $90,000. The salary is a $4,000 raise over his current salary as the director of the county’s human services department.
A resolution, transferring the powers and duties of the local health department and the local health officer to the human services department and changing the name of that department to the Crawford County Health and Human Services Department, will be presented at the Crawford County Board of Supervisors monthly meeting on Tuesday, December 19.