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Medical records require switch

WINTON – On July 1, Albemarle Regional Health Services will assume the role of providing public health services in Hertford County.

Albemarle Regional will take over that role from the Hertford County Public Health Authority (HCPHA), an entity that will discontinue services effective June 30.

The decision to dissolve the HCPHA and join Albemarle Regional Health Services was made by the Hertford County Commissioners on March 27 during a special called meeting in Winton.

Ramona Bowser, the current HCPHA Health Director, advises the citizens of Hertford County that if they have medical records on file with the HCPHA and wish to release those records to Albemarle Regional Health Services, they will need to sign a medical release form. The medical release form can be obtained from HCPHA’s Ahoskie Clinic, located at 828 South Academy Street, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. Those forms will need to be signed on or before HCPHA’s June 30 closing date.

For additional questions, call 252-862-4054.

“The Hertford County Public Health Authority would like to take this time to thank the citizens of Hertford County for allowing us to serve you with quality care for the last 14 years,” said Bowser.

It was at the March 27 meeting that the county commissioners “determined that in order to keep and expand public health services for the citizens of Hertford County at a reasonable cost to the taxpayers, it is not economically feasible to provide public health services as a single county public health authority.”

The board also determined that “the best means of providing public health services for the citizens of Hertford County and to be able to keep and expand public health services on an economically feasible basis is through a multi-county entity rather than a single county health department or authority.”

The commissioners, in a majority vote, opted to join Albemarle Regional Health Services. That Elizabeth City based business currently offers public health services in Pasquotank, Perquimans, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Bertie, and Gates counties.

To join Albemarle, the Hertford County Commissioners agreed an operational cost of $240,126 in the first year. That annual cost increases by 2.5 percent each subsequent year.

Additionally, Hertford County is required to “buy in” to Albemarle’s current fund balance.

As of July 2017, Albemarle listed a fund balance of $9,428,783. Based on its population, Hertford County’s “buy-in” will total $1,414,317. That total amount will be paid over a 10-year period ($141,432 annually).

Adding in the annual operational costs, Hertford County’s total payment to Albemarle for the first year (2018-19) will be $381,558.

Based on discussion at the March meeting, it was learned that the county contributes $383,000 annually to the HCPHA.

All medical and office supplies in the inventory of HCPHA as of the merger date will become the property of Albemarle, as will all personal property assets such as office furniture.

Hertford County will maintain ownership of all buildings currently used by the HCPHA. The county will be responsible for all utilities, maintenance, upkeep, and major repairs/renovations to those buildings.

Meanwhile, the county, as part of the merger agreement, intends to secure the financial resources necessary to design and build a new building to be utilized for public health services and open it on or before July 1, 2028.

 

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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