BUCKHANNON — Sue McKisic, Nurse Director and Administrator of the Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department, brought forth concerns of state compliance standards and required facility renovations to the Upshur County Commission at the meeting on Thursday, April 14.
McKisic began her presentation by introducing herself, Board Chair Teresa Key, Medical Director Dr. Joseph Reed and WYK Associate Mr. James Swiger, who have provided bids of renovations for the required updates. McKisic continued, “I’m here again seeking some type of assistance or guidance. Whatever you can give us. That would be greatly appreciated. I’m usually on the giving end and I don’t like to ask for anything but now I am on the asking/begging end for the citizens of Upshur County and the staff of the Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department.
“We thought we had grant money to work on our building and that fell through because we didn’t have ownership of the building. We have put money aside and we have received one bid. The total bid was $450,000. The base bid was $298,601 and alternate number one was close to $76,000,” said McKisic.
McKisic went on to elaborate that the current health department was built in in the 1950’s but noted that it does need updated to better serve the citizens and be compliant with standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Infection Prevention and Control Assessment Response (ICAR).
“ICAR is a new thing that the state rolled out to us mid-March and they are doing their first audit of our facility on Tuesday April 19. They did tell us that we need to have a separate med room and it cannot be in a patient room which it is now. It cannot be in a room where lunch or dishes are washed which it is now. The exam room cannot be used for that which it is now. We rinse our dishes off in the sink in our exam room. So, that is definitely out of compliance,” said McKisic. “We do not have a handicap accessible bathroom at our health department right now and our staff are eating at their desks,” shared McKisic.
McKisic said, “We have added some items to our office including a new vanity in the staff bathroom, new vinyl flooring and sink in the exam room, some new desks as well.” McKisic continued that these were possible with grants from COVID. However, with COVID numbers continuing to decrease and less grant monies being available, the health department will soon be back to “a bare bones budget.”
McKisic also noted that the health department needs updates, not only to be compliant with multiple authorities, but in an effort to be more prepared for another pandemic. The health department only has one exam room currently. “If we have another exam room, we will be more prepared and can see twice as many patients,” said McKisic.
In addition, more offices are needed for staff. Currently the health department is renting a location on Mud Lick for the Sanitarian’s office and his assistant. So, with renovations, everyone could be back under one roof.
Also, McKisic said that she is unsure how long the health department will have to become in compliance and there are consequences if not in compliance. McKisic further noted that she discussed this with a member of ICAR and was told that, “Repercussions could not be discussed over the phone and would be explained in person following the audit. We don’t need to not be able to offer services to our citizens,” said McKisic.
Mr. James Swiger then took the podium and discussed the bids that came in and options available. Swiger also noted during his speech that inflation is greatly affecting construction costs. Swiger spoke of the base bid of $298,601 and then option one that would cost an additional $75,000. Swiger noted that in his opinion that is what the health department would be the minimum that would need done. Other options included addressing ceiling tile and updating light fixtures.
McKisic then noted that the health department board itself is willing to contribute $150,000 to the project. She continued to note that there are some heating issues as well and that many of the staff use space heaters but that in her personal office she cannot as it blows a breaker. Furthermore, she noted that, while they would like to complete all aspects of the project, that the minimum of $298,601 with option one of $75,000 would bring them into compliance. So, the total investment would be $373,601 minus the $150,000 that the health department board contributes bringing the needed funds to a total of $223,601.
Commissioners noted funds would be further discussed at the next meeting on Thursday, April 21. Commissioners did approve the following at the meeting; “Request for Proposals” for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) hardware and software necessary for the installation and viewing of camera systems in various Upshur County Board of Education transportation vehicles and the Upshur County Board of Education Transportation Department.
Sealed bids must be received no later than 2 p.m. Friday, May 27. Proposals will be opened on Thursday, June 2, during the regularly scheduled Commission Meeting held in the Commission Meeting Room located at Upshur County Courthouse; a second “Request for Proposals” for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) hardware and software necessary for the installation and viewing of camera systems in various Upshur County Board of Education buildings and at the Upshur County Board of Education Transportation Department. Sealed bids must be received no later than 2 p.m. Friday, May 27, 2022. Proposals will be opened on Thursday, June 2, 2022, during the regularly scheduled Commission Meeting held in the Commission Meeting Room located at Upshur County Courthouse; Consideration and approval of correspondence from Jason L. Queen requesting appointment as County Coroner of Upshur County; Consideration and approval of time and materials quote from Unified Solutions, LLC for maintenance of the Upshur County Tallmansville Tower Site. Unified Solutions will serve as the secondary contact in the event that emergency service is necessary and Biser Radio Service is unavailable; Approval of Lewis-Upshur Animal Control Facility Volunteer Geraldine “Jerry” Zickefoose and Approve withdrawal of resignation previously approved during the April 7 Commission Meeting.