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Commissioners get answers on health services

Janet Imrick

Randolph Hub


ASHEBORO — Randolph County commissioners heard reports from various health care, approving the waiver of Randolph Health’s annual debt service and greeting the incoming CEO of the Sandhills Center.


American Healthcare Systems (AHS) President Tim Ford returned for the June 5 Board of Commissioners meeting, after commissioners reported confusion about their role on the hospital's board of directors.


Chairman Darrell Frye and Commissioner David L. Allen said that they have since met with the hospital's leadership. Allen said, "We're a partner in this and we want everyone to succeed."


Frye and Allen questioned Ford during the May meeting because the board had not received any items for a vote. AHS is a for-profit company that bought Randolph Health in 2021.


Ford said that on May 18, they met to specify items for voting and clarify the spirit of the board.


The board unanimously agreed to waive the interest for the $12 million Rural Healthcare Stabilization Loan they received for upgrades to the facility. The county must assess every year that the hospital has honored its covenants before waiving its debt service payment of $1 million with 1 percent interest.


"I think we feel better about it today," Frye said. He talked about the changes in the relationship with the hospital, including its new role as a taxpayer. According to Frye, it is now one of the top 10 taxpayers in the county.


Sandhills Center changes CEOs


Commissioners received the regular update from the Sandhills Center, an agency that provides services for mental health, substance abuse, and intellectual and developmental disabilities in 11 North Carolina counties. Outgoing CEO Victoria Whitt introduced Deputy Director Anthony Ward, who is from Randolph County and will succeed her. Whitt will retire on July 1.


The Sandhills Center requested $844,000 for services this fiscal year, which was approved by commissioners. Whitt told them that they expect their new office on New Century Drive to be completed in July.


Mediko’s jail contract renegotiated


The third health-related item the commissioners heard about was an update on the contract with Mediko, which provides care to inmates in the Randolph County Detention Center. 

In May, commissioners approved the contract for the 2023-24 fiscal year, but they voiced concerns that the expanded jail's increased inmate capacity would run afoul of the contract's inmate cap. Maj. Philip Clark told them they've renegotiated with Mediko and raised the cap to 300.


Clark said that while the detention center facility will be able to hold 422 inmates, they are trying to keep the inmate population at no more than 280 because of staffing. The contract with Mediko will be finished before renovations are complete.