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Fitness test for officers, firefighters
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McMinnville officials will be looking at an agreement Tuesday night that will require fit-for-duty physicals by all authorized emergency personnel employed by the city.
Under consideration is a service agreement between the city and The Prevention Group, doing business as Lifesigns, to provide physicals every three years for employees in the fire and police departments, excluding clerks and administrative staff.
Currently, the city has 30 employees at McMinnville Fire Department and 31 employees at McMinnville Police Department who will be tested.
McMinnville Police Chief Bryan Denton and McMinnville Fire Chief Kevin Lawrence would be included as those who would be tested.
“There were discussions about excluding us,” said Denton. “Even if it wasn’t required, I would have taken the physical. I want to send a positive message to the troops.”
A member of the department since 1982 when he began as a patrolman, Denton says physical testing has been discussed over the years.
“We’ve talked about the need for testing since the ’80s. I have always been of the opinion it should be done. As long as it’s fair and job related, I don’t have any problem with it. I think this is something we should have done years ago.”
Lawrence could not be reached for comment regarding his requirement to test. However, he instituted an exercise regimen for his employees years ago that requires each shift to work out at McMinnville Civic Center.
A base exam will include an office visit, resting EKG, spirometry, hearing test, vitals, chest X-ray, screening ultrasound on thyroid, kidney, gallbladder, liver and aorta, and a body composition analysis.
Also, lab work to test chemistry panel, liver function, lipid panel, thyroid panel, CBC, urinalysis and additional tests for iron, lactate (LDH) and uric acid will be included with the base exam.
Employees who fail the base exam will be placed on a program that will be geared toward helping them pass the part of the test they failed. Follow-up visits will be used to further evaluate and manage any ongoing problem.
According to the agreement, the base exam will be $400 per employee. All employees will receive the base exam, with other tests added per age guidelines. Specifically, employees over 40 will also undergo a treadmill stress test at a cost of $175.
Other tests ranging in price from $15 to $200 are available as needed, including an available Hepatitis B Titer, TB Skin Test, and Heavy Metals testing, as well as diagnostic testing for tetanus, influenza vaccine, HIV, Homocysteine, bone density, mammogram, and vitamin D.
Funding for the tests will come from the city. Being a fit-for-duty physical, rather than an annual physical, the cost of the exam will not be covered under the city’s insurance, says city human resource administrator Jennifer Rigsby.
If accepted by officials Tuesday night, The Prevention Group will begin testing next month.
“We are going to start with the police department in December,” said Rigsby. “It will take a few months for everyone in both departments to complete a physical examination.”
Under HIPAA Privacy Regulations, the information received by the tests will be shared with the city. However, information will not be made public by either the city or The Prevention Group.
The regular session of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen begins at 7 p.m. on the second floor of city hall.