Jessica Erickson, Director of Nursing, reported findings from a home care feasibility committee study at the board’s April 3 meeting. She commented that home care services are hard to find in Fillmore County.
The number of clients being served by the county have generally been trending down over the last several years. There are 15 skilled nursing clients, (includes injections, wound care, blood draws), 13 home health clients (personal care and light housework), and 50 homemaker clients (cleaning, laundry, errands). In all of these areas there has been a decline in the number of clients and visits except for a slight uptick this last year in the number of home health aide and homemaker clients (but less home health aide and homemaker overall visits).
Eight of the homemaker clients also receive home health aide.
Eight of the homemaker clients are currently on CDCS (consumer directed community supports). This makes the client responsible for finding services and provides an option which allows the hire of family/friends or private agency for cleaning services. Erickson noted everyone has the option to go to CDCS to hire a homemaker.
Reimbursement for these services are determined by the state. Erickson said many agencies are not able to be sustained on the amount of reimbursement. The cost of home care services provided by the county are not covered entirely by other revenue sources like state, federal, and private insurance. In 2016 about $63,000 was covered by county levy dollars and in 2017 about $79,000 was covered by county levy dollars.
This feasibility study will help commissioners make an informed decision as to the future of county provided home care services. Erickson noted that three local providers are interested in taking on clients and staff to provide these services.
Commissioner Randy Dahl insisted we all want people to get good care. It is his understanding that there are agencies willing and able to do this. Commissioner Duane Bakke said, if we quit providing home care service, we want to know every client is taken care of by someone else. He also expressed concern about existing county home care employees and their ability to find employment with other providers or the possibility of some doing something else within the county system.
Erickson said they could have a job fair for home health aides. Many providers in our area are short of staff. All three providers she has contacted want to be part of a job fair and hire additional staff. It was suggested clients would likely follow the home health care person they are familiar with.
Erickson said there are a couple of options. They could sunset the program after a period of months to make sure clients have their needs met and to hold a job fair for home health aides. The other option is to phase out of the program slowly. Erickson explained it is difficult to be in limbo; a date certain will allow employees to make plans.
Dahl recommended a period of three months to sunset home health care, thereafter, leaving it to private providers. He added the objective is to leave nobody behind. No action was taken this day. Commissioners may make a decision at the next meeting.
Information was provided this day to commissioners from both Preston and Spring Valley, as requested, to promote their city as the best option for a future veterans home in Fillmore County. During this week any questions or requests for further information from commissioners will go through County Coordinator Bobbie Vickerman to city officials or veterans home committee members.
At the April 10 meeting each commissioner will mark a ballot selecting one of the two cities. Vickerman will announce the results from the balloting, after which a resolution will be drafted.
There will be no “citizens input” at the April 10 meeting and no presentations will be allowed from anyone.
Other business in brief
• The purchase of Dude Solutions Software to assist in data collection was approved. County Engineer Ron Gregg explained the software will help identify culverts and save time. An app on a Smart Phone will be used to help locate deficiencies in culverts. The initial investment for the software is $2,171.25. There will be an annual fee of $2,895. Technology funds will pay for the software.
The purchase of a Hydraulics Inspection Vehicle Explorer (HIVE), developed by MnDOT, was approved at a cost of $1,200. A tablet for Wi-Fi transmission will cost $300. This small remote control car can be sent through culverts as small as 24 inches in diameter and up to 250 feet long. Gregg said it will be a huge benefit in determining the physical condition of culverts. The funding for the purchase of the vehicle was budgeted.
Approval was given to advertise for a replacement bridge in Beaver Township (near border of Bloomfield Township).
The board approved an advance in the amount of $321,124.27 from the 2019 County State Aid Construction Fund to supplement available funds. This advance is from next year’s allotment in order to replace a bridge on CSAH 1 south of Ostrander this year. The bridge is estimated to cost about $500,000.
• County Recorder David Kiehne explained a recent change in state law gives the county more control over parcel splits. A resolution was adopted to create authority to approve or deny parcel splits. A checklist to be used as an aid to transfer land or a tax parcel has been developed. The Fillmore County Land Transfer Policy was approved and will be effective May 1, 2018.
• An access permit for Brad and Judy Herman and Earl and Bev Haas for a field driveway, Section 20, Newburg Township was approved.
An access permit for Timothy and Susan Gossman for a field driveway, Section 16, Jordan Township was approved.
An access permit for Ryan and Bobbie Laganiere to expand an existing driveway access on CR 5, Section 22, city of Wykoff was approved.
Three 2017 Natural Resources Block Grants that have been 100% expended were closed out: Shoreland Grant ($2,746), Septic Treatment Systems Grant ($18,600), and Septic Treatment Systems Incentive ($7,459).
• A resolution for recognizing April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month was adopted. There will be an ice cream social April 10, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Room 102 of the courthouse. April 17 is “wear teal” day. On Thursday, April 26 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. there will be “Sexual Trafficking Awareness Training” at the Lanesboro Community Center ($25/lunch included).
• National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week is April 8-14. Sheriff Tom Kaase asked that we acknowledge and recognize our dispatchers.
National Severe Weather Week is April 9-13.
National Work Zone Awareness Week is April 9-13.