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Health Department to get computer upgrade
Change needed to accommodate electronic records
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 The Barton County Health Department is moving towards the use of electronic medical records, a change that its current computer server cannot handle. The County Commission Monday morning approved changes to help with this transition.

Oked was the purchase of a new Dell Power Edge R530 computer server at a cost of $5,561 from Dell. The department is currently utilizing the county’s oldest server, said Information Technology Director John Debes. 

Although it should have been replaced earlier, the Information Technology Department suggested holding off until such time as specifications were available for the electronic medical records software. That time is now, Debes said.

In addition, Debes has researched options for resolving wireless connections issues at the courthouse and at the Health Department. The commission approved the purchase of six wireless access points and the hiring of NexTech to program managed switches at cost of $5,458. 

Three of the points will be in the Health Department to improve coverage, aid in the transition to electronic records and provide an improved opportunity for on-line training. Three of the points will be installed in the courthouse to, among other thing, help with on-line conferencing.

“We have new pressures on our budget that we haven’t had in the past,” Commissioner Jennifer Schartz said. The need to stay current with rapidly changing technology is starting to strain resources. 

By holding training locally, Schneider said her staff saves money, money that can help offset the cost of having to continually upgrade. “We work smarter, not harder.”

In other business Monday morning, the Barton County Commission:

• Approved a letter of support for Sunflower Diversified Services. Sunflower requested the letter for a Kansas Department of Transportation grant application in the amount of $28,338. The money would be used to continue the operation of the General Public Transportation System, said Sunflower’s Sarah Krom. 

In fiscal year 2015 which just ended, the program logged nearly 288,000 miles, giving nearly 45,000 rides. It operates seven days a week.

• Approved providing benefits for a Health Department social worker. Under the 2015 budget, the position is scheduled to work an average of 16 hours a week. After the award of the Pregnancy Maintenance Incentive Grant, the case load has increased to where 24 hours per week is required to meet program goals. 

Funds are included in the 2016 budget for wages, but not for benefits. Persons working over 20 hours a week are eligible for KPERS, vacation, sick leave and discretionary pay.

The commission approved covering the cost of KPERS for 2016 if the grant will not cover it. Provisions will be made to accommodate the KPERS in the Health Department’s 2017 budget.

Money is available in the Health budget for an increase in hours for 2015.