During the Marshall County Commissioners meeting Monday, President Stan Klotz informed the other two commissioners and members of the County Council of a joint work session scheduled for Friday, February 10th at 10 A.M.

Klotz said Indiana Senator Mike Bohacek from Senate District 8 which includes Starke County and portions of LaPorte, Marshall, and St. Joseph counties will attend the meeting to discuss various legislative matters currently being discussed and considered in Indianapolis.

Senate Bill 4 was authored by Senators Ed Charbonneau, Jean Leising and Chip Perfect.  It refers to the Public Health Commission and defines “core public health services” for purposes of public health laws. Adds members to the executive board of the Indiana department of health (state department). Requires the state department to provide district or regional services to local health departments. Allows the state department to issue guidance to local health departments. Requires the state department to make annual local health department reports available to the public. Changes the qualification requirements for a local health officer and requires certain training.  Senate Bill 4 requires the state department to identify state-level metrics and county-level metrics and requires certain local health departments to report to the state department activities and metrics on the delivery of core public health services. Requires the state department to annually report on the metrics to the budget committee and publish information concerning the metrics on the Internet.  The bill also would set political affiliation limitations on local boards of health and adds two members to local boards of health. Requires a multiple county health department to maintain at least one physical office in each represented county. Provides that a new city health department cannot be created after December 31, 2022, but allows current city health departments to continue to operate. Creates the Indiana trauma care commission and sets forth the commission’s duties. Specifies that certain vision screenings in schools for students may be performed by an ophthalmologist or an optometrist. Requires vision screening in kindergarten and first grade (current law allows for the screening in either grade). Modifies the list of vision tests that may be used. Requires the school to send to the parent of a student any recommendation for further testing by the vision screener. Allows for standing orders to be used for emergency stock medication in schools. Allows the state health commissioner or designee to issue a statewide standing order, prescription, or protocol for emergency stock medication for schools and removes the distance requirement for an access practice dentist to provide communication with a dental hygienist.

During the Commissioner’s meeting, Commissioner Kevin Overmyer said he heard the was some “pushback” from some counties. He said there are immediate concerns in this county that need to be addressed including the hospital, medical clinics closing, and citizens having a hard time finding a doctor. Overmyer said, “We’ve got bigger problems to worry about than the Health Department.  The Health Department is going to become more and more of a critical asset to this county at this point in time and the way things are looking.”    

Klotz also commented that he heard there are concerns about losing control of the Health Departments at the local level.  

This meeting with Indiana Senator Mike Bohacek is a public meeting that will be held in the second-floor meeting room of the County Building this Friday at 10 a.m.