By Lasca Randels
WARSAW — Glenn Hall, executive director of Kosciusko Home Care & Hospice, spoke about the organization’s struggle with staffing at the Kosciusko County Commissioners meeting Tuesday, Sept. 28.
Hall said they have been short on nursing staff for well over a year.
“The reason I felt it was important to be here today is because you are one of our two major funders in helping us provide services to this community,” Hall told commissioners Tuesday.
“We have, as you know, struggled in home care – the home care side of our business for years … we don’t make a lot of money on home care, but that’s always been offset by our hospice business,” Hall said. “But now we, like every other business around, are suffering a resource shortage.”
Hall said the workforce shortage is beginning to impact the organization’s ability to provide the level of care the county deserves.
“I just felt, No. 1, that it was important for you to know that and No. 2, appeal to your hearts to help us spread the word that we are looking for people who are servant-minded, looking for folks that want to work in this environment where we take care of people in their homes to help them stay out of a very expensive hospital stay or nursing home stay,” Hall said.
The organization is currently in need of nurses, aides and clinical staff.
“We appreciate your support as always. We couldn’t do what we do without the county’s support and your funding, but today i’m not here to ask for money. Money is not the answer for us. Today I just wanted to make you aware that our business, like many others, is struggling with a resource issue and it’s a major challenge for us right now,” Hall said.
“We talked briefly last week, and I really felt your anguish,” Kosciusko County Commissioner President Bob Conley said. “I thought this was a good opportunity to let the community know that there’s a need out there if there are retired nurses or nurses who would like to work part-time. There is pay there … you’re not asking them to do it for free. Money is not the problem, it’s human resources. We’re asking individuals to step forward if they are so inclined and we’d like to let the community know that, on behalf of the commissioners, on behalf of the Home Health Care and Hospice.”
In another matter, County Auditor Michelle Puckett asked commissioners to approve two American Rescue Plan grant applications. The first, in the amount of $30,000, would be for COVID-19 testing and supplies for cleaning and disinfecting the offices going forward.
The second grant application, in the amount of $18,666.69, is for rental of the building at the fairgrounds for COVID testing.
Both grant applications were approved.
Attorney Steve Snyder appeared before the commissioners on behalf of Petitioner Michael Arnolt, regarding a petition to vacate a public way near EMS T34 Lane.
The Kosciusko County Area Plan Commission recommended approval for Arnolt to vacate what is platted as West Boundary Drive, near Tippecanoe Lake, in the Old Mill Place subdivision originally platted in 1945, subject to documentation proving that the petitioner has proper standing to make the request.
Snyder said the road is still technically public and is now referred to as EMS T34 Lane.
According to APC Director Dan Richard, records from the auditor’s office show the property under private ownership. Private property is unable to be vacated, Richard said.
Snyder said the property developer had a blanket deed done, which he thought would vacate the road but actually didn’t. A deed has been signed for that strip of land as of 7 a.m. this morning, Snyder said. Commissioners approved the request to vacate based on the assumption that the county does have ownership of the property.
In other news:
- Commissioners approved County Highway Superintendent Steve Moriarty’s request to set the opening of annual bids for highway supplies for 9:15 a.m. Nov. 9. All bids must be submitted to the county auditor’s office by 9 a.m. Nov. 9.
- Darryl McDowell was introduced as the new Kosciusko County Veteran Affairs Officer. He replaces Rich Maron, who vacated the position earlier this month.
- Commissioners approved a letter of intent to apply for the Hoosier Enduring Legacy program, which is a program that would allow the county to hire a community development coordinator.
- Commissioners approved an Infrastructure Development Zone Ordinance providing a property tax exemption to Kosciusko REMC for investing in the installation of broadband Internet equipment in unincorporated areas of the county.
- Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation representative Suzie Light provided a quarterly update. According to Light, KEDCo CEO Alan Tio is back in the U.S. following deployment overseas with the United States Navy. Tio is expected to return to the Kosciusko County KEDCo office by the end of October.
- A Hoosier Homes Program Resolution presented by Light was approved.
- The county emergency sick leave policy currently in place is set to expire Sept. 30.
- Commissioners approved a petition by Ryan Lewis to rezone ground from agricultural to residential on Warner Road, north of CR 1300N in Turkey Creek Township.
- Attorney Richard Helm, representing Petitioner Whitney Clark, withdrew a petition to vacate a public way near EMS C27C Lane.
- The next regular meeting will be 9 a.m. Oct. 12.