Getting the word out

Individuals, families can contact agencies directly to ask about availability of home health services

 

May 24, 2018

By Deb Hadachek Telescope editor
www.thebellevilletelescope.com

Adequate home health care options for the elderly and disabled appear to be available at the present time in Republic County.

All people need to do is ask. That was the consensus of a joint meeting at the Republic County Commission meeting Monday between representatives of the Republic County Health Department and In My Home home health care offered by OCCK, Inc. (Occupational Center of Central Kansas).

OCCK is based out of Salina and provides a wide range of services to residents with disabilities.

During the discussion with In My Home staff members Stephanie Gering, director, and therapy contractors Kay Rieke and Kayla McCartney, Danielle White, health department director, and Nicole Kraus expressed a willingness to work with the other agency to serve residents’ needs.

The health department recently decided not to offer services reimbursed by Medicare to eligible county residents, but provides other in-home nursing and homemaking services funded by other payors or paid for privately. The county health department serves an average of 35 people, White said.

Gehring, director of In My Home, said her agency is Medicare certified and currently has 10 Republic County clients. In My Home also accepts other forms of reimbursement and private pay.

Both women said their agencies can take new clients. Patients can be referred by their physician, or can call either agency directly and request information on services.

“We want to keep people in their homes as long as safely possible,” Gehring told commissioners.

Gehring said In My Home services include not only nursing and homemaking services, but extend to companionship and maintenance services.

Both agencies charge from $17.50 to $21 per hour for homemaking and skilled nursing services.

In My Home has hired local LPN Melinda Beeson and contracts with occupational therapy assistant Kay Rieke and certified physical therapy assistant Kayla McCartney to care for clients, Gehring said. She said additional staff will be added as demand increases, and In My Home can also draw on some 33 employees from counties in the OCCK service area.

“We have local staff,” Gehring told commissioners. “I know how important that is. You have local people caring for clients, not staff coming out of big cities.”

A question about whether there were adequate home health services in Republic County was raised at the  April Republic County Hospital board meeting by administrator David-Paul Cavazos. Hospital CFO Barry Bottger and board chairman Deb Hadachek attended Monday’s commission meeting, and said that the hospital does not want to start its own home health agency, but is prepared to study the need if adequate services aren’t available locally.

“There is a real need for home health services here,” Rieke said. “It’s been the talk of town lately. “I’m really happy to be able to see the patients we
wanted to see and we knew needed services. “That had gotten lost in our county and the counties around us.”

White said her department maintains a list of services available to county residents, and can refer to other agencies for services her department does not offer.

To ask questions about services for children and adults, contact the Republic County Health Department, 785-527-5671. To contact In My Home Home Care/Health Care, call 785-823-2025. On the web at www.inmyhomeocck.com or www.occk.com.