Health board fires nurse practitioner

For the second consecutive month, the Wood County Board of Health concluded its meeting by ending the
employment of another long-time worker.
Thursday evening, following a lengthy executive session, the board voted to terminate the employment of
Sandra Spino, nurse practitioner at the county health department for 14 years.
After the board meeting, Wood County Health Commissioner Pam Butler said Spino was fired "due to
neglect of duty."
The dismissal came one month after another executive session by the board, followed by the resignation of
clinic supervisor Kathy Ferrell, who had been with the health department 17 years.
According to Butler, the board will be "reviewing policies and procedures regarding clinic
services."
As part of this review, the board voted to enter a contract for a pharmacy quality assessment and audit.
The board will pay $110 an hour for the first 60 hours, then reduce that amount to $95 an hour, for a
maximum of 150 hours.
"We can afford this?" questioned board member Karen Apple.
"We have no choice," said Bill Ault, administrator at the health department.
The board also fielded questions from the audience, which for the second consecutive month was full of
concerned health department employees. Many of the questions focused on what many employees see as
inconsistent enforcement of a county health insurance policy that does not provide coverage for spouses
with incomes above a certain level.
Despite this policy, the board voted in April to give its new nursing director a monthly stipend of
$1,032.91 for health insurance. Butler explained that during an interview for the position, Ann Smith
was promised full family coverage. It was only after she was hired that it was discovered her husband, a
dentist, did not qualify for the coverage – so the board approved the annual stipend of $12,394.92.
Though some board members seemed to be under the impression that other employee spouses were offered the
same reimbursement, it was reported at Thursday’s meeting that several other spouses have been denied
coverage under the present policy – and no other employees get a reimbursement.
"We are going around that policy for one person?" questioned board member Dallas Ziegler.
"We make an exception for one person?"
But Butler and Ault explained the reimbursement is considered a fringe benefit for Smith, since she is in
management at the health department.
Other employees at the meeting asked when the board of health might respond to questions posed at the
last monthly meeting. Board President Dr. Steve Dood said a management committee meeting will be held
next Wednesday at 3 p.m. He said any health department employee could attend without having to take time
off from work.
"We want to open the lines of communication," Dood said. "I’ll stay here as long as
necessary."
At last month’s meeting, a union representative informed the board that employees have been discouraged
by management from discussing health department issues with board members.
"We want to assure you we have heard your questions," Dood said at that meeting.