Broadband, health insurance scheduled for county vote

By AUTUMN HUGHES
Posted 10/24/18

The Bradley County Commission will consider two resolutions at its voting session on Monday. Both were discussed during this week’s work session. One resolution is related to Bradley County seeking designation as a Broadband Ready Community, while the other resolution is related to health insurance benefits for county employees.

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Broadband, health insurance scheduled for county vote

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The Bradley County Commission will consider two resolutions at its voting session on Monday. Both were discussed during this week’s work session. 

One resolution is related to Bradley County seeking designation as a Broadband Ready Community, while the other resolution is related to health insurance benefits for county employees.

Commissioner Erica Davis said the Ad Hoc Committee for Broadband Ready Community designation met last week and voted unanimously to recommend the commission approve a broadband resolution and policy. The task of the committee is “to explore the feasibility of Bradley County applying for broadband ready community designation and to recommend policies and procedures for permitting” broadband projects.

Both the policy and resolution will be on the Nov. 5 voting session agenda.
Discussion of the Broadband Ready Community designation came up at the Sept. 24 county commission meeting, when David Murphy, vice president of Marketing & Economic Development for Volunteer Energy Cooperative, spoke about it. Murphy asked commissioners to consider adopting an ordinance, resolution or policy to seek the Broadband Ready Community designation, which will help with VEC’s efforts to expand broadband access throughout Bradley County. The Ad Hoc Committee for Broadband Ready Community designation was established to help in that effort.

In regard to the resolution related to health insurance benefits for county employees, it authorizes Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis to continue coverage with Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company. According to the resolution, there are three options available to employees at an annual county cost of $588.99 per month for each employee enrolled. Bradley County has approximately 600 full-time employees who are offered health benefits.

The Insurance Committee met last week to discuss its health insurance renewal proposal, which Davis said will be a 5 percent price increase over last year, but the county has budgeted for that expense and will pay it instead of the employees paying more. The employee health insurance options are the same as last year, with no changes to coverage or costs, he added.

In other healthcare-related news, Davis told commissioners he signed a letter of agreement with Tennova Healthcare-Cleveland on Monday for a lower rate for inpatient and outpatient inmate care. The new rate begins on Nov. 1. In addition, Vista Radiology “verbally agreed to the same thing,” Davis said.

Davis said he is awaiting information from Quality Correctional Health Care, which provides inmate medical service, so the county can pursue additional contracts.

The current QCHC contract stipulates a $120,000 cap – the county pays for any expenses over $120,000; Davis said with the lower prices it will take longer to reach that cap.

Commissioner Milan Blake, chairman of the Finance Committee, said he appreciates Davis for negotiating with medical providers for care of jail inmates.

The Bradley County Commission next meets in voting session at 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 5, at the Bradley County Schools’ central office.

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