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County employees, inmates get OKs for medical clinics

ASHEBORO — The County Commissioners approved plans for an on-site wellness clinic for employees and accepted a new contract with the medical provider at the Detention Center.


The actions were taken at the commissioners’ May 1 meeting. 


Sam Varner, county wellness administrator, requested the establishment of the clinic for county employees. He told the commissioners that the projected annual cost is $405,000 with startup estimated at $50,000.


Varner and Paxton Arthurs, county engineer, found space at the county-owned Northgate Plaza for the clinic. Varner said that after months of research, a clinic selection committee that included government leadership and county commissioners picked Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist to manage the clinic.


Arthurs said there is $300,000 in the Northgate renovation fund to cover design and related costs of converting the space for the clinic. Atrium will be responsible for equipment.


Varner noted that it’s been shown that for every $1 invested in an employer on-site medical clinic, $3 are returned in health and medical care savings. He listed the advantages of an employer medical clinic: reduced healthcare costs, improved productivity, increased employee retention and recruitment, improved access to quality medical care and reduced annual biometric screening cost. Programs that can be offered at the clinic include a medical advocacy program, medical concierge service, preventative screenings, on-site pharmacy, and weight management program.


The commissioners unanimously approved the contract with Atrium as well as a contract with Smith Sinnett for design of the clinic.


The board also voted to renew the contract with Mediko, the current provider of inmate medical services at the Randolph County Detention Center.


The agreement includes the addition of a licensed practical nurse, who will be responsible for completing medication distribution and medical screenings during intake. The extra LPN would add more coverage Monday through Friday.


The total cost of the Mediko contract is $1,420,762. The base contract is $926,390 with $382,940 for medication assisted treatment (MAT) and $111,432 for the additional LPN.


The board expressed concern that, with the expansion of the Detention Center and possibility of an increase in the inmate population, that Mediko could come back for more money if their costs increased. Aundrea Azelton, chief deputy, said the contract has no options for going beyond the stated funds.


The commissioners voted 4-1 in favor of the contract, with Kenny Kidd in opposition.