Commissioners approve construction of onsite medical clinic for employees

ASHEBORO — The Randolph County Board of Commissioners met Monday, May 1, with multiple budgetary requests on the agenda.

The board first approved a $10,000 grant for the George Washington Carver College, Inc. after-school program.

“What we did was team up with Communities in Schools, Asheboro City Schools and the City of Asheboro,” said George Washington Carver Community Enrichment Center Chairman Clyde Faust. “We got Communities in Schools to go and help us find retired teachers that would help create a foundation for developing those study habits. Some professional teachers who are going to come in and who are going to help these middle school kids get those study habits that are so important.”

“The second part of the day is bringing in professional artists. In theater, we work with RhinoLeap Productions, and they bring in professionals in the theater department. We work with artists from UNC Greensboro who brought in professionals that teach dance. We brought in professional painters who are painting a mural for Russell Murphy, who was a community leader back in the 1970s and 1980s, and people in our after-school program are actually helping to create that mural. And why the arts? The arts teach you how to think outside the box. The arts teach you how to be original, how to speak up for yourself, how to have self-confidence.”

According to Faust, the program costs parents just $25 every three months and includes professional training from teachers and artists, a hot meal and a snack, and the Carver Center is a designated bus stop for both South Asheboro and North Asheboro Middle School.

The board also approved a contract renewal with Mediko, Inc for inmate medical services.

“As a part of the contract renewal, we are requesting an additional licensed nurse practitioner,” said Chief Deputy Aundrea Azelton. “This additional position would be responsible for completing medication distribution and medical screenings during intake. There is currently only one LPN who does those duties in addition to doing the daily inmate medical sick calls and attending to emergent medical needs of inmates. The new position would provide additional coverage Monday through Friday.”

The contract’s total cost is $1,420,762 for the year, which is a $26,000 increase from the base contract price last year.

The board also approved a new Human Services Planner/Evaluator II position.

“As the opioid settlement funding work has progressed, it has become very clear that Randolph County could benefit from having a human services planner or evaluator that would provide support for the settlement funds project, including implementation of strategies and compliance with the North Carolina Memorandum of Agreement and any activities approved by this board,’ said Public Health Director Tara Aker. “The HR planner or evaluator will work closely with the organizations that apply for and receive funding.”

The board then approved the abolishment and subsequent reformation of the Farmer Fire Tax District in order to remove the $0.15 cent tax cap that had previously been put on the districts.

Farmer is the final district to be approved for the change, which will not affect the area of service, nor is it an actual tax increase.

The board also approved the funding and construction of an on-site medical clinic at Northgate Wellness Center for employees and their dependents that Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist will staff.

“There are many advantages to having an on-site medical clinic,” said Wellness Administrator Sam Varner. “Number one, probably the most important, is reduced healthcare costs which will save the county money. It will also improve employee productivity. Having an on-site medical clinic will definitely improve the retention of our current employees. It will improve access to quality medical care, especially for our at-risk employees. It will also reduce the annual biometrics screening cost.”

The approved cost from the county is $405,000, with a $50,000 startup cost. The design for the clinic will be done by Smith-Sinnett Architecture.

“All in all, the research from four independent studies states that for every dollar we invest in an on-site medical clinic, we will save $3 on healthcare savings,” Varner said.

Finally, the board approved a renewal of its Microsoft 365 contract totaling $888,600.

“With all the hacking that’s going on today, it’s a protection for our employees and the citizens of this county too,” said Chairman Darell Frye. “There’s a lot of records that are kept in this county. A lot of personal records are in our system here.”

The Randolph County Board of Commissioners will next meet June 5.

By Ryan Henkel, North State Journal