Coroner to move some autopsy cases to PCH

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Putnam County Coroner's Office could soon be saving thousands of dollars with a plan proposed by Coroner Dave Brown.

Appearing before the Putnam County Commissioners at their first October meeting, Brown set forth a plan that will move many autopsies from Terre Haute Regional Hospital to Putnam County Hospital.

The county has a longstanding relationship with forensic pathologist Dr. Roland Kohr, who performs autopsies at Regional for a number of counties in west-central Indiana.

While the plan will not terminate the relationship with Kohr entirely, Brown has a proposal for Dr. Thomas Sozio to do many of the county's autopsies in Greencastle at PCH.

Sozio, who has worked with the Marion County Coroner's Office, would charge the same fee for autopsies as Kohr. The savings would come from not paying Regional Hospital a $250 fee per case and not having to pay for transport to Terre Haute, which Brown estimated to be $150 per trip.

Brown said the proposal would save his office approximately $5,000 annually.

County Attorney Jim Ensley had some questions regarding a contract with Sozio, but the commissioners seemed confident these could be worked out.

Brown's proposal received unanimous approval, pending working out a contract with Sozio.

The coroner also said he is in the preliminary stages of possibly purchasing a used van that could save the county further transport costs.

Planning ahead was also on the mind of Putnam County Planner Brett Wagner, who told the commissioners the county will be in need of a new building inspector in early 2016.

City of Greencastle Building Inspector Dave Varvel has announced his retirement is coming up in April. As the city inspector, Varvel has also contracted his services to the county.

Wagner told the commissioners it was up to them how to move forward in finding a replacement for Varvel, either continuing to contract with his replacement at the city or hiring their own inspector.

Either way, Wagner reminded them, April is not terribly far away, and anyone new would be most capably trained by Varvel before he retires.

No decision was made, but the commissioners plan to continue the discussion.

One building in need not of inspection but of some repairs is the Putnam County Courthouse. Head custodian Brian Smith brought before the commissioners Brian Gottschalk of Atlas Building Services to discuss the limestone belts on the courthouse.

The belts, the horizontal ledges that run around the exterior of the building at the base of the second and third floors, are showing serious wear. The problem is that water and snow collect on the belts, causing wear to the limestone over time.

Gottschalk informed the commissioners that fixing the belts, as well as leaks around the large, oval windows on the third floor, would cost approximately $36,000.

Putnam County Councilman Phil Gick, also a prominent member of the Heritage Preservation Society, advised the commissioners that Atlas may be a good vendor, but that he would like to discuss the matter with Indiana Landmarks, which could bring in an independent consultant to assess the courthouse exterior.

No action was taken as the commissioners gather more information.

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  • Maybe the county could hire the Cloverdale Building Inspector. He's done such great things in Cloverdale. Having the streets free of basketball goals and mowed lawns has made our community so much better.

    -- Posted by CdaleResident on Mon, Oct 12, 2015, at 2:31 PM
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