Public Health Nurse Manager Kimberly Cowan provided the Big Horn County Commissioners the monthly report for services from Big Horn County Public Health Tuesday. She reported that Sheridan May in the Lovell office has resigned to return to school.
She said the county needs to approve filling the vacancy. Cowan said she has been looking at the budget.
“Our funding isn’t there as a county,” she said, adding that she can no longer use the TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) grant for salaries.
The county is required to pay 35 percent of nurse salaries. With May there were five nurses on staff.
“With the way the funding is going with the state and here, I’m a little nervous to fill that position,” Cowan said.
One option is to hire a Maternal Family Health nurse that would be paid strictly by the MFH grant, Cowan said.
Cowan said Washakie County has also been struggling.
She said she does not want to close the office in Lovell. “One option, the way we thought we could do this best, is keep four nurses,” she said.
She said there would be a nurse in the area but not always in the office.
“Like a doctor’s office it will have to be by appointment,” Cowan said, adding that the office will be open weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. but a nurse may not be readily available.
Chairman Jerry Ewen said, “Try it and see how it goes and maybe the revenue picture will look better at the end of the year.”
The commissioners agreed with Cowan’s recommendation to not replace May at this time.
Cowan added that right now the budget was not calculated correctly for salary and benefits for the nurses and she is currently running about $9,000 short. With the loss of the nurse in Lovell she may not need as much but likely will need a transfer of funds to cover the shortfall.
By KARLA POMEROY