County to discuss EMS fitness

By Andy Winemiller -

DOBSON — One county department is looking to whip its employees into shape, and county commissioners will get a first look at the proposed fitness program Monday evening.

At Monday’s meeting of the Surry County Board of Commissioners, EMS Director John Shelton will present a draft of his plan to ensure EMS personnel are physically ready for the tasks which present themselves in the line of duty.

Shelton’s plan is to make a physical ability test an annual event if the county gives its approval. Those who fail the test will be given the option of completing on-duty fitness counseling or on-duty practice for the test.

After a two-year initial period in which the program is implemented, a test failure will result in an employee transferring positions or his/her employment being terminated.

All candidates for hire and newly hired employees must pass the test if the draft should become policy. The two-year grace period will not apply to those hired after any policy is put in place.

Later in the meeting, Shelton will appear before the board to ask for funding for a new ambulance.

In Shelton’s correspondence to the board, he states three ambulance replacements were approved in the 2016-17 fiscal year’s budget.

However, all capital expenditures in Shelton’s department were halted when the county learned it was required to send back more than $281,646 to the state due to accounting errors which resulted in incorrect compensation for Medicaid patients for the 2011 fiscal year.

Once other years for which the county received improper compensation from the state are figured, the total dollar amount returned to the state is likely to be more than $1 million.

That stated, Shelton presents the ambulance as an immediate need for his department. The replacement cost for the vehicle is about $96,000, while repairs would cost about $10,000.

“We have been without the unit since late May, and it has created a great hardship on units available for service,” writes Shelton.

Shelton is also asking for three computers which are necessary for billing and mapping, according to the memorandum. The three computers were also included in the 2016-17 fiscal year’s budget. The total cost of that request is about $16,000.

Monday’s meeting begins at 6 p.m. and will be held at the Surry County Government Center located at 118 Hamby Road in Dobson.

By Andy Winemiller

Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.

Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.

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