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Health board restructures department’s nursing staff

LISBON — With the passage of the renewal of the cancer clinic levy earlier this month, the General Health District’s Board of Health reorganized the nursing staff without increasing costs.

Since the resignation of the director of nursing, Jennifer Davis, the nursing department had been led by Interim Nursing Director Jamie Elenz. However, Health Commissioner Wes Vins said a change needs to be made because Elenz is the epidemiologist on the staff and a grant recently received by the health department does not allow for the epidemiologist also to be the director of nursing for the department.

Instead, at Vins’ suggestion, the voted to restructure the department for now, creating the positions of certified medical assistant and medical services administrator. Kayla Kemats will serve as acting nursing director while she continues to go to school. Krista Colvin will serve as the certified medical assistant. Elenz will be the medical services administrator for the department, which will now be the supervisor for the department.

Additionally, the department will now be looking to hire a nursing clerk.

In another matter, the board approved the 2020 Medical Mutual renewal agreement to provide health insurance for the employees at the health department. Although it is a large increase, Vins said the Morris Agency worked with them to look at all options available, which ranged from the 39 percent increase with Medical Mutual to 101 percent of what was paid last year.

Vins said they will save some money by increasing the deductible by $1,000 for a single person and $2,000 for a family plan. Additionally, by better funding the Health Reimbursement Arrangement for the employees, they were able to get the increase down to about 23 percent.

Additionally, the board passed a policy allowing employees who have insurance through their spouse to opt out of the health insurance program. Instead, the health department will pay the employee opting out $250 per month to help cover the cost of their insurance through the spouse.

In other matters:

— The board issued a board order to try to compel Ren Teague, Knox School Road, Alliance, to make changes at the property, including securing the garage building and removing solid waste and tires.

— Variances were granted to Holly Steinbinder, state Route 14, East Palestine, regarding a septic system set back; Jay Laughlin, Thomas Road, Lisbon, regarding a septic system change; and Paul and Jenny Lucas, who cannot abandon an existing water well, due to it being under the crawl space of a home.

— A 30-day extension was granted to a Water Pollution Control Loan Fund project, which just got the needed permit to make septic repairs. It was noted the septic program tentatively has been granted $150,000 for the 2020-2021 program.

— The next meeting of the board of health will be changed to 10:30 a.m., Dec. 18, instead of the normal 4:30 p.m. That will accommodate the Public Health Accreditation Board site review team, which wants to meet with the board of health when they are in Lisbon to review the health department.

djohnson@mojonews.com

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