Polk hires Dr. Lassiter as interim medical director

Published 5:31 pm Tuesday, March 5, 2013

After going a little over two weeks without an emergency services medical director, Polk County hired Dr. Lonnie Lassiter to serve as interim.

The Polk County Board of Commissioners met Monday, March 4 and approved a contract with Dr. Lassiter by a 4-1 vote. Commissioner chair Michael Gage, vice-chair Ted Owens and commissioners Keith Holbert and Tom Pack approved the contract, while commissioner Ray Gasperson voted against the contract.

Dr. Lassiter’s hiring comes after the board fired former medical director, Dr. Allison Owens in January. Dr. Owens agreed to stay on as director until Feb. 15, with the county having a month to work under the state to find a new director.

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Dr. Lassiter was the only doctor who applied for the position. His contract requires the county to pay Dr. Lassiter $1,000 per month, or $12,000 annually.

Gasperson said the board is aware of his concerns saying, “quite frankly I feel this whole process concerning the medical director for EMS has been handled badly.”

He said he feels St. Luke’s Hospital should have been included in the decision- making since commissioners are not medical professionals.

“I know we’ve been put in a position since we just had one application,” Gasperson said. “We’re between a rock and a hard place frankly right now.”

Pack then asked Pittman if St. Luke’s CEO Ken Shull said the hospital had no one to recommend for the position. Pittman said that was correct.