VERSAILLES – The possibility of having a nurse practitioner on staff was discussed at the Oct. 8 Ripley County Health Department meeting.
Even though the funding is not in place for 2014, administrator Tony Schneider hopes to work out something for the following year.
Member Dr. Steve Stein, Batesville, wondered, “In the pursuit of a nurse practitioner, we thought the money we collected from insurance would pay for that. Do you have any data?”
The administrator said, “No, that’s the legwork we have to do, and we also hope to expand our services .... (and) the sheriff’s office has expressed interest in a nurse practitioner to help with some of the things they do over at the jail.”
Administrator adviser Pat Thomas added, “The council and commissioners are supportive. We just need the funding. The highway department has to have physicals completed for CDLs (commercial drivers licenses) .... There’s a lot of ways we could use a nurse practitioner.”
In other news, Erin Holbert, a disease prevention specialist with Aspire Indiana, Richmond, would like to use a room once a month for a few hours to do tests for HIV, hepatitis C and syphilis. She currently provides the free service in Dearborn, Fayette and Union counties. “The county does not have to supply any equipment, just a room,” Vicky Powell, public health nurse, pointed out.
Testing will be done for those on probation and anyone else in the community who wants to be tested.
Stein asked, “Do we get any numbers out of this?”
The nurse revealed, “If they’re county residents, we’ll know” if they tested positive. “We do get quite a few calls from people asking if there is anyone who does hepatitis C testing, especially if it’s free .... She (Holbert) feels Ripley County really needs it.”
Members agreed to allow Holbert to use a room once a month. For more information, persons can contact the health department at 812-689-5751.
Diane Raver can be contacted at email@example.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 114.
Other news • The bedbug problem "constantly seems to be on the rise. No matter what time of year it is, we get questions about how to treat them," reported environmental health specialist Holley Rose. "Schools and members of the public have reached out to us for information .... Our goal is to have a bedbug referral packet to give them" so they have information about the insects. • Health officer Dr. David Welsh was unable to attend, but gave his report via phone. He encouraged "citizens to get their flu shots and make sure those they care about are also vaccinated." In addition, "this is a good time for folks to check their properties for places that could harbor mosquitoes in the spring." • Member Dr. Michael Parker, Batesville, said the Southeast Indiana Health Center, Batesville, for the uninsured living in Ripley and Franklin counties, is going well. "There are some challenging cases, and it takes a little more time than you think because a lot of these people haven't been to the doctor for a long time because of money or insurance." Clinic leaders are also always in need of volunteers, he said. For more information, persons can call 932-4515. • The next RCHD meeting will be Tuesday, Jan. 21, at 5 p.m. in the Ripley County Annex, Versailles, commissioners' meeting room.