The Wayne County Board of Health unanimously approved several new contracts for 2024 that are expected to save money and improve services.

  • One vendor, already providing medical records services, will add telehealth to monitor patients taking certain types of medicine, enhance insurance detection to choose patients’ proper insurance first, and resolve claim issues in 30 days.

    The approximately $4,000 more annually will be recouped easily, officials said, because WCHD currently pays someone $25 per hour to come from Muncie to watch tuberculosis patients take their medication.

    WCHD also currently has about $10,000 in billing issues to resolve, requiring multiple calls to insurance companies, patients and the records provider. 
  • Switching to another medicine provider for most hepatitis C patients will save $700-plus per patient. 
  • WCHD also will contract with MediCenter in Cambridge City for hepatitis C medicine for a few patients. Some insurance companies require an in-state provider. MediCenter also offers deliveries. 
  • A new inventory management system will save $100 per month over one currently being used along with staff time. 

Some of those contracts approved during the Nov. 13 meeting require county commissioners’ consent.

Environmental updates

Dan Burk reported permits and reports issued during the first three quarters. They include:

  • 90 animal bites
  • 43 septic permits; about 127 inspections
  • 421 retail food establishment permits and 1,067 food inspections
  • 31 pool permits, shutting down eight. All but one have reopened.
  • 119 complaints about housing including roaches, feces and mice.
  • 35 lead inspections. Some cases remain open after families moved or won’t let inspectors into homes.  

In other business

  • WCHD is reviewing potential partnerships with local and regional providers, using new Health First Indiana funds. Wayne County will receive $803,101.48 in 2024 from the state for core public health services.
  • The board approved a new sewage system ordinance to replace the county’s previous 2006 ordinance that became void after state lawmakers approved new legislation. The new ordinance largely repeats state code, but continues the county’s stricter requirement for contractors to register with the county so their credentials and insurance can be verified because homeowners could lose thousands of dollars if an issue arose. Average systems cost $25,000 to $30,000. It also includes some recommendations that aren’t required. The ordinance now advances for county officials’ approval before submission to IDOH. 
  • With added grant funding, WCHD aims to fill one new full-time and one part-time position for fetal/infant mortality review to analyze past trends, determine gaps in care and connect moms with social services to prevent future deaths. 
  • Becca Alliston, director of clinical services, noted Indiana Department of Health’s new dashboard shows Wayne County’s young children’s immunization rates are 65.8% (higher than the state’s 56.4%.)
  • All staff recently were cross-trained to provide sexually transmitted disease tests to increase patient access. Staff also received Purdue’s health equity training.
  • Member Bob Coddington submitted his resignation. The board now seeks candidates to fill his seat in January. 
  • The board’s meetings are moving to noon on third Tuesdays, starting Dec. 19, so information can be shared with county officials before their Wednesday meetings.
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A version of this article appeared in the November 22 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.