Salem — The city board of health voted at an August meeting to part ways with the department’s accredited coordinator.
The board unanimously voted to terminate the employment of accreditation coordinator Sarah Horchins after a board meeting lasting approximately 20 minutes to discuss personnel issues. Hochins has been in the position since 2021, prior to which she was a deputy registrar. Health Commissioner Alana Hughes and Mayor Cindy Baronzi Dickie cited poor performance as the reason for their dismissal. The division will first try to fill vacancies internally.
Other personnel issues discussed included the department’s ongoing search for part-time Hispanic liaisons to be hired on a contract basis for departmental events. Hughes said the position is not yet filled, but he has received interest from one potential applicant who speaks both English and Spanish fluently. The department also continues to recruit candidates for part-time outreach specialists to be hired on a contract basis. If the department takes on these positions, salaries will be paid through workforce development grants, and Hughes also provided an update to the board.
Hughes said the subsidies had been approved and a new budget proposal had been submitted to justify the subsidies, and no further amendments could be made this year.
“We will announce it in December. We cannot revise it any further this year, so we will submit in December what needs revision so that we can revise it in January.” said Hughes.
Hughes said other expenses will come from this year’s grants, including a year-end longevity bonus, the salary of recently hired part-time housing law enforcement officer Chris Davis on a contract basis, and a September Staff training expenses scheduled for and October.
In a report, Environmental Health Director Alan Masters provided an update on ongoing dangerous dog incidents in the city.The dog’s owner had not yet submitted the necessary veterinary paperwork for the animal, according to the report, and Hughes noted that the dog in question was found free-range. “More than four times.”
Dickie said the owner had been charged with a fourth-degree misdemeanor in connection with the incident, and had previously faced general dog charges for neglecting to care for the dog.
“She’s been wanted twice before on suspicion of abandoning a dog, but didn’t control it. This time, she broke in through a window, attacked another dog that a child was walking, and killed the dog.” I tried to kill him, but the neighbors were out in the garden, so I chased him away.” said Dicky.
Masters’ report also states that he was helped by a local Boy Scout to catch mosquitoes. However, no traps were taken at that time because trees had fallen over the traps.
Also discussed was a booster shot of the soon-to-be-released new coronavirus vaccine, which Hughes said would specifically target the emerging Eris variant. Hughes said he is waiting for confirmation from the Ohio Department of Health as to whether the department will receive booster doses through Section 317 of the Public Health Service Act or will be compelled to purchase doses directly from Moderna. Stated. Hughes noted that if the ministry had to purchase the boosters directly, it would not be able to provide them for free.
Pro Tempore Chairman Judy Sicilia also issued a warning to Medicare subscribers to beware of the rise in fraud. Sicilia explained that eight at-home COVID-19 tests will be covered by Medicare under a government program that ended in May. But Sicilia said tests can be submitted up to a year in advance, and scammers are submitting fictitious tests based on the program, she explained.
“Be careful, there’s a really big scam going on about billing your home for a COVID-19 test you didn’t perform. You may not realize it because you didn’t pay for it.” Sicily said.
Ms. Cicilia had personally experienced five such fictitious test submissions, and this particular fraud was so frequent that Medicare staff knew what was going on when she reported it. He said he immediately guessed.
“One of them was on Christmas Day last year. Even a woman in Medicare said on Christmas Day, ‘Aren’t you ashamed?'” Sicily said.
Sicilia said it’s important to stay alert to such fraudulent checks and report them to Medicare officials, although they’re often overlooked when considering the bill.
“It’s important to call the fraud number on your Medicare bill because if you don’t know it, you can’t track it.” Sicily said.
The next Health Committee meeting will be held on September 20th at 2:00 pm.