Wadena County has received a check for $391,042, the first of what could be five installments of payments from South Country Health Alliance (SCHA) after the county exited the health insurance provider in 2019.

Wadena County’s equity within SCHA was calculated at $1,906,673. That amount will be paid over a period of time not to exceed five years, with interest at the applicable prime rate.

Wadena County Commissioners voted to withdraw from the county-based health plan when a cash call came out and Wadena County was expected to pay $1.4 million to help keep the provider afloat. At the time, costs were unsustainable and there were unknowns about the program’s future, commissioners said.

Since Wadena, Todd and Morrison counties left SCHA, the provider has seen increases in funding and appears to be in a better place at the time.

Commissioners were unsure how to start dividing up the funds as they were not clear of their previous decision on where the funds would land in the budget. At one point, they agreed, 50% of the amount would be placed in the Human Services budget. They agreed to make a decision of where the funds will go during their upcoming meeting in August.

In other actions, the board:

  • Accepted a non-monetary donation for the visitation room remodel from Trinity Lutheran Church of Staples. The donation included members donating time to build a table, cupboard fronts, created artwork, snacks, toys, furniture and decor. The donation was estimated to cost about $935.
  • Acknowledged receiving the City of Sebeka 2019 TIF report.
  • Heard that there is a carpenter bee problem within some historical buildings on the fairgrounds. An exterminator is to look into the concern.
  • Approved a waiver to the limit of vacation and compensatory hours to Dec. 31, 2020. At this time there is not a significant amount of hours being earned, according to the extension document. It is due to the employees not being able to take the time off due to the need to be performing job duties.
  • Approved the Public Health director to sign the contract with the Minnesota Board on Aging in the amount of $49,257. The funding is to be used to increase public awareness and promote screening and early identification of dementia through education and engagement with local community partners. Objectives include use of evidenced based staff training, coordination and implementation of community dementia awareness, and promote screening and early identification of dementia and related health screenings such as hearing, diabetes and cardiovascular health.