Diver’s fam­ily to get health in­surance

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Pa­tri­cia Doxsey pdoxsey@free­manon­line.com pat­ti­at­free­man on Twit­ter

The Ul­ster County Leg­is­la­ture has ap­proved a res­o­lu­tion ex­tend­ing med­i­cal in­surance for 18 months for the fam­ily of an Ul­ster County corrections sergeant who died dur­ing a dive team train­ing ex­er­cise.

Leg­is­la­tors passed the mea­sure unan­i­mously and with­out dis­cus­sion on Tues­day.

Kerry Win­ters, 51, a 30year vet­eran of the Sher­iff’s Of­fice, died Sept. 22 af­ter be­ing found un­con­scious dur­ing an in-wa­ter train­ing ex­er­cise in the Ashokan Reser­voir in town of Olive.

The Ul­ster County sher­iff’s deputies who were Win­ters’ col­leagues on the sher­iff’s dive team have sur­vivor ben­e­fits in­cluded in their union con­tract. But the con­tract of the county corrections of­fi­cers’ union, of which Win­ters was a mem­ber, does not, leav­ing Win­ters’ wife and two sons with­out heath in­surance cov­er­age.

The deputies are rep­re­sented by the Po­lice Benev­o­lent As­so­ci­a­tion, and the health care pro­vi­sion was ne­go­ti­ated in 2015. The corrections of­fi­cers are rep­re­sented by the Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Work­ers of Amer­ica.

Ul­ster County Ex­ec­u­tive Michael Hein pro­posed ex­tend­ing health cov­er­age to Win­ters’ fam­ily in Oc­to­ber, calling it an is­sue of “fun­da­men­tal fair­ness.

The ex­tended ben­e­fits will cost the county $5,942 for the re­main­der of 2016, $40,219 for 2017 and $14,747 for a por­tion of 2018 — a to­tal of $60,908.

Win­ters was pro­nounced dead at HealthAl­liance Hos­pi­tal’s Broad­way Cam­pus in Kingston shortly af­ter be­ing pulled from the wa­ter. His death was ruled an ac­ci­den­tal drown­ing.

The sergeant was an ex­pe­ri­enced and ac­com­plished diver who had been on the sher­iff’s dive team for 15 years.


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