Mt. Pleasant News, News

Public Health appoints new interim director, discusses transition to county

Shelley Van Dorin has been appointed as Public Health’s interim director in light of current director Patti Sallee’s resignation.

As Sallee leaves Public Health for other career opportunities, Van Dorin has been charged with seeing the department through the transition as they become a county-based instead of a hospital-based department.

During the Board of Health meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 28, Board of Health chair Rose Lauer said that Van Dorin is a good option as interim director because she has previous experience in managing Public Health.

“I think we would be in good hands,” Lauer said before the board unanimously voted to appoint Van Dorin.

Van Dorin begins as interim director of Public Health on Monday, Dec. 4.

Henry County Supervisors Marc Lindeen and Greg Moeller were present during the Board of Health meeting, along with the nursing staff from Public Health and other representatives from Henry County Health Center (HCHC) as they continued discussion of the Public Health transition.

Although it was briefly discussed in Board of Supervisors meeting on Thursday, Nov. 16, to move up the Public Health transition to Jan. 1 instead of waiting until the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2018, ultimately, the Board of Health and the supervisors decided against it.

With supervisors’ recommendation, Public Health will remain with HCHC until the end of the fiscal year on June 30.

This also gives more time for Public Health nurses to determine if they will continue with the department and become county employees instead of HCHC employees, or if they want to look for other employment.

Currently, Public Health nurses work 32-hour, four-day work weeks, but to receive benefits under the county, they have to work 37.5 to 40-hour work weeks.

Nurses typically have to give two-weeks’ notice before leaving a job, but Lauer asked for the Public Health nurses to give their intent of employment by Jan. 1.

“There’s no contract for (Public Health nurses) to sign, but we have to have some idea of wages and benefits (for the 2018-2019 fiscal year),” county auditor Shelly Barber said.

“It’s not just the budget either,” Lauer said. “For continuity of services, we need to know if people are going to stay or go. For all practical purposes, you can give a two-weeks’ notice, no one can say you can’t, but it would be really nice if we knew so we could get new people hired before the transition,” she said, addressing the Public Health nurses present at the board meeting.

Also during the meeting, HCHC IT director Patrick Waters went over the IT agreement between HCHC and Public Health. At the beginning of the transition, it was decided that Public Health continue to retain the IT services of HCHC while they are still housed on hospital property.

HCHC has managed Public Health IT support for the past 30 years while they have been on contractual agreement. Waters said they will maintain the same amount of services, providing workstation support and server and email support for Public Health under the county.

HCHC also provides this support to Family Medicine and the Hy-Vee pharmacy within HCHC.

Waters sand that Public Health information will be treated the same as HCHC information is treated, following the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guidelines and privacy rules.

“Privacy and data security is always top concern,” Waters said.

The board also went over the lease agreement between HCHC and Public Health for the space Public Health currently occupies. The lease can be renewed yearly.

It was brought to the board’s attention that the lease requires Public Health to do their own cleaning of the building. Sallee said she has already begun looking into independent companies to do these services.

The lease also states that HCHC will pay utilities, however, there may be additional charges to Public Health if it meets the criteria of “excessive use.”

“If there was something additional, like (Public Health) put in a new server,” HCHC Chief Operating Officer Michelle Rosell clarified.

Lindeen assured the board the lease agreement between Public Health and HCHC is “very comparable” to other spaces the county rents in town, adding that the agreement is temporary and they hope to move Public Health off hospital property within two years.

“That’s why we did it year by year, as we get closer to relocation options,” Rosell said.

Toward the end of the meeting, Barber reminded the Board of Public Health they need to adopt the county handbook like other departments under the county have done.

“We have other entities within the county that have a board like Board of Health that operate in the same way,” Barber said. “What it amounts to is those entities follow county procedures. We provide the purse strings, then it’s up to the Board of Health to spend the money the Board of Supervisors allows you to have.”

Another factor of the transition still to be discussed is whose jurisdiction Healthy Henry County Communities (HHCC) falls under — HCHC or Public Health. This determination will be made once the board comes to a conclusion on how they will restructure with the transition.

As for the HRSA grant that was awarded to HCHC for Public Health and HHCC’s use, Rosell said the hospital is looking into getting it reallocated to the county. HRSA is a nearly $1 million grant awarded to HCHC at the end of the summer to improve gaps in patient care.

“We have to research and talk to HRSA about the grant,” Rosell said. “(The grant cycle) ends June 30, so it makes sense that we tie this all together.”

Currently, HHCC is responsible for implementing the objectives and programs detailed under the HRSA grant.

The Board of Health will not have a December meeting, but will resume on Jan. 9, 2018.


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