Supervisors approve preparation of PCH contract for inmate healthcare needs

ABERDEEN – The board of supervisors approved a motion Friday for Pioneer Community Hospital to prepare a contract to be reviewed by county officials regarding medical coverage to prisoners at the Monroe County Detention Center.
PCH interim associate administrator Adam Yoe and director of nursing Ellen Ratliff presented a plan including a registered nurse at the jail four hours a day, five days a week, which aligns with a contract for housing federal inmates, and clinic rates billed at Medicare rates, which would combat the rising cost of healthcare for inmates. Regardless of the board’s decision, PCH agreed to honor Medicare rates, which the state reimburses back to the county.
To justify the hiring of a new RN to fill the need, Pioneer Health Services requires the county to contribute $2,000 per month to share in the cost, to which the sheriff’s department budget would need to be amended if supervisors approve the deal. While an RN would be at the jail part of the day, the candidate would be available during the remaining regular hours.
“If you have 10 to 12 clinic or ER visits, that would be a wash for the monthly cost,” Yoe said.
Currently the sheriff’s department has a $6,000 per year budget for medical expenses, which isn’t enough to compensate the need.
District 3 Supervisor Carol Crawford mentioned points that more clinic visits mean more deputy time spent transporting inmates and higher risks of prisoners being exposed to other sicknesses in the waiting room and further contaminating more of the prison population. By having an RN onsite, inmates could be assessed to see if a clinic trip is necessary.
In exploring other ways of saving county money, supervisors approved using Fuel Man cards for all gasoline vehicles in the road and building and grounds departments’ vehicles to evaluate savings.
In other business, supervisors approved:
• A bid from Fulton Pipe as the supplier for culverts from January to July with G&O being the alternate supplier.
• An order directing the clerk to issue warrant on the general county fund payable to the American Red Cross.
• An order filing and recording bond continuation certificate for Tina Evans, accounts payable clerk of the Amory School District.
• An order receiving and depositing EMAP reimbursement payment of expenses incurred by the Monroe County Emergency Management Agency.

About Ray Van Dusen

I've been with the Monroe Journal since Aug. 2009 as a staff writer, but took the role as news editor in late 2012. I'm always looking for interesting story ideas from around Monroe County. You can reach me via email at ray.vandusen@journalinc.com.
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