Board to consider health care contract

NEW ULM – Brown County commissioners will consider today, a health care contract to handle the overflow of pre-commitments that New Ulm Medical Center (NUMC) cannot handle due to volume.

The contract with Avera McKennan Behavioral Health Center in Sioux Falls for July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014, was in negotiations due to contract language until earlier this month, according to the Request for Board Action (RBA).

In most years, the contract has had no accounts billed through to Brown County. The contract is followed to ensure Brown County is a payer of last resort.

The issue of dealing with patients that came to NUMC from other counties and were referred to Avera McKennan came up, according to the RBA. Avera McKennan wanted Brown County to have some responsibility for payment and transportation.

Negotiations were based on differences in Minnesota and South Dakota law plus Avera McKennan’s need to be paid by counties that place people in NUMC and then avoid further contact, according to the RBA.

Commissioners will also consider:

A $1,000 grant to the Open Door Health Center. Issues remain for county residents who don’t have dental or health care access.

Last year, 184 Brown County residents visited the Open Door Health Center, 309 Holly Lane, Mankato, 576 times. Patients enrolled in Minnesota Medicaid programs were served. Patients without health insurance or on high-deductible plans can apply for sliding fee discounts.

Accepting a $2,784 Adoption and Foster Care Recruitment grant for July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2015 for software to help Family Services find relatives, family and neighbors around the globe who may be interested in caring for a child in county adoption and foster care programs plus the child support system.

Increasing the on-call rate for the Chief Deputy, Jail Captain and Communications Lieutenant to $110/weekend and $55/day, the same weekly rate as probation agents and social workers receive. Unlike on-call probation agents and social workers, the Chief Deputy, Jail Captain and Communications Lieutenant are also on call the entire week, weekends, and holidays.

Amendments to the 2008-2018 Brown County Comprehensive Water Management Plan. Proposed amendments range from being more active with the general public on water retention to a better understanding of groundwater resources.

The meeting starts at 9 a.m., today in the courthouse commissioners room.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at

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