Watch now: McLean County Jail looking to contract nurses to ‘provide needed relief’ – Bloomington Pantagraph

February 1, 2022 by No Comments

BLOOMINGTON – McLean County moved one step closer Monday to hiring additional nurses in the jail to combat “a shortage of nursing staff” and nurse applicants.

The McLean County Health Committee unanimously passed an emergency ordinance amending the fiscal year 2022 budget to add a contract with Peoria-based Advanced Correctional Healthcare, which will provide temporary nursing staff.

The ordinance moves to the full county board for approval at its Feb. 10 meeting.

County staff has budgeted $100,000 for the contract, as the money will be removed from the full-time employees’ salary fund and added to a contract services fund in the current year’s budget, if the county board approves the contract.

McLean County Administrator Cassy Taylor said the plan is to hire some nurses as a short-term fix to an ongoing nursing staff shortage in the jail.

Nursing shortages have been reported elsewhere in the U.S. due to pandemic concerns, wages and other reasons.

“This short-term solution will allow the nursing supervisor to schedule adequate nursing coverage for unfilled shifts, provide additional staff for any necessary Covid-19 testing, and provide needed relief and days off to existing staff,” Taylor wrote in a memo to the county health committee.

Taylor told The Pantagraph that there were “eight or nine” nurses budgeted for the jail in the current year, and they are staffed 24 hours per day.

The exact number of nurses on staff at the jail was not immediately available.

McLean County Detention Facility leadership and Nursing Supervisor Suzanne Scott are working to “expedite applicants” for as-needed shifts and full time.

McLean County Detention Facility Nursing Supervisor Suzanne Scott speaks at Monday, Jan. 31’s McLean County Health Committee meeting.

County staff aims to utilize contracted nurses on a “temporary and sporadic basis” and plans to analyze the need after three months.

Scott said at Monday’s health committee that the McLean County Jail currently has nine active COVID cases from tests administered last Monday and Friday.

“We have ongoing COVID testing, COVID response, as well as a shortage of nurses,” Taylor said at Monday’s health committee meeting. “We want to make sure that the residents in our care have all the medical needs met.”

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