Osceola commissioners approve new ME contract

At right, Osceola County Emergency Medical Services Director Jeremy Beebe and Assistant Director Shane Helmer discuss the proposed medical examiner’s contract from Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine for services during Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting. (Pioneer photo/Brandon Fountain)

REED CITY — A new medical examiner’s contract will save Osceola County now and in the future.

Osceola County commissioners approved a contract with Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine (WMED) to provide medical examiner services during their committee of the whole meeting on Tuesday morning.

WMED’s Dr. Joyce deJong currently is the county’s appointed medical examiner.

The contract, which will begin on July 1, includes an annual administration fee of $3,600, as well as fees for licensing access to photos and documentation, as well as a 2 percent annual increase, said County Coordinator Susan Vander Pol.

Officials compared WMED’s contract to the county’s previous medical examiner contract with Mid Michigan Medical Examiner Group.

“This proposal over what we were looking at budgeting, will save the county about $100,000,” she said, adding the county also will see a cost savings for any autopsies performed.

“We’ve had a good experience the last couple of months with WMED,” Vander Pol noted. “Staff seems to be happy.”

The contract also means a cost savings to the county, as authorized employees who are trained as medical examiner investigators will be utilized.

Vander Pol added the contract includes a renewal option that would run through January 2023, to coincide with the regular appointment of a medical examiner.

Upon approving the contract, county commissioners also approved WMED’s policies and procedures for medical examiner services to be Osceola County’s policies.

In other action from Tuesday’s meeting, commissioners approved a 1 percent administrative fee to the county allocated portion of summer tax bills in the five townships for which the county performs the collection. Treasurer Lori Leudeman said the fee would annually raise around $13,500 for the county’s general fund, that would help with the mailing of notices.

County commissioners also approved the following at Tuesday’s meeting:

• The discharge of mortgage for the Dore property;

• County Clerk Karen Bluhm and Equalization Director Rosie McKinstry to share a full-time employee to work in an open part-time position in the equalization department as long as the work load allows and based on Bluhm and McKinstry’s discretion; and

• Acceptance of a training grant for veterans services.

Items approved by commissioners during the committee of whole meeting were considered and affirmed during the board of commissioners meeting.

The next Osceola County Committee of the Whole meeting will be at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, June 5, at the Osceola County Courthouse.

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Posted by Brandon Fountain

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