BY KARISSA MILLER

The Iredell County Board of Commissioners has allocated $48,000 to ensure all Iredell County Emergency Medical Service bases and their entrances more secure.

Commissioners recently approved an agreement with Sage Solutions LLC. The company will install an integrated door access control system at all EMS stations.

The project will be funded by the 2020 Cares Act so there will be no current budget implications, officials stated.

According to EMS Director Blair Richey, the system will provide better security at all EMS stations and allow the county to meet current HIPAA guidelines on access to buildings that may contain protected health information.

The Statesville base at the Public Safety Center has the Sage Security Online System, which allows staff to immediately grant or deny access to areas on the EMS side of the building.

It also allows EMS officials the ability to set a security level on any particular door so only certain employees have access; for example, the narcotics closet and supervisor’s office.

EMS is required by the federal government to protect patient health information from being released and part of those requirements include restricting access to any building storing protected health information.

Once the upgrade is complete, the system can produce a log showing who accessed or attempted to access the building or restricted doors and at what time.

County Manager Beth Mull also pointed out that the system will work with the county employee ID badges, and it will make life easier for staff. She said changes can be made with a click of a mouse. This will be helpful when employees retire or are terminated.

Currently, other bases have systems from different manufacturers that are not compatible with the system at the Statesville base. It usually takes 24 hours to update code locks that have to be changed when employees leave employment.

Each of these stations opens the county to possible HIPAA breaches and possible fines for each breach.

Richey said that adding the same Sage Security System in all bases will provide compatibility with the main system, allowing staff central control over access in each.

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