County officials are filling the medical provider position at the Bartholomew County Youth Services Center with a nurse practitioner.
OB/GYN Associates of Columbus and PromptMed nurse practitioner Brenda Korte took over medical services at the combination youth shelter and juvenile detention center Friday.
Korte replaces the late Charles Hatcher, a physician who had served the youth center for 23 years. The facility has been without a dedicated medical professional since early January, when Hatcher died at age 72, said Anita Biehle, Bartholomew County youth services director.
In between designated medical care directors, care for the youth was provided through Columbus Regional Hospital outpatient services, she said.
The Bartholomew County Commissioners approved the contract with Korte last week, despite concerns from Commissioner Larry Kleinhenz about potential insurance liability issues of hiring a nurse practitioner rather than medical doctor.
Biehle indicated this would not be a problem, however. The contract already specifies that Korte is responsible for providing her own liability insurance, a criteria which she met prior to applying for the position, Biehle said.
Korte will not be a county employee. Instead, she is a contractor providing ongoing services to the Youth Services Center.
A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse who has completed advanced medical training required to diagnose illnesses and prescribe treatment, including medications. According to Indiana statute, nurse practitioners must be attached to an office with a medical doctor, Biehle said. Korte has a collaborative agreement with Dr. Teresa Lovins at Our Health, a clinic in Indianapolis.
Medical expenses account for about $12,000 per year from the center’s annual budget, Biehle said. Of that, $8,032 goes toward paying Korte’s annual contract. This amount is identical to the fee paid to her predecessor, Biehle said.
As the center’s medical provider, Korte will be responsible for weekly checkups on all residents of the facility, Biehle said. She also will be permanently on call to respond to minor medical emergencies which cannot be treated by the center’s regular part-time nurse.
The Bartholomew County Youth Services Center serves as a juvenile detention area for minors charged with violent crimes and as a shelter for children in need of emergency housing.
According the group’s most recent year-end report, the youth center housed 145 juveniles in its secure detention wing and provided emergency housing fro 101 children in 2014.
The agency has seen a significant increase in the number of youth seeking service over the past two years, a result of parental heroin abuse and untreated mental illness, said Anita Biehle, Bartholomew County Youth Service director.