Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

June 12, 2013

Carter magistrates switch jail health provider

By Tim Preston - CNHI News Service
Journal-Times

June 12, 2013 — Carter County magistrates approved bids for road materials ranging from gravel and salt to pipe and blacktop during Tuesday morning’s special meeting, and also cast a unanimous vote to hire a new company for health-related services at the county’s detention center.

With only a small public audience present, magistrates quickly moved through the agenda for the special meeting, voting in favor of measures including funding transfers for the jail and the county’s E-911 system, as well as reappointing Larry Carroll to represent the Rattlesnake Ridge water district. The board also voted unanimously to approve a bid of $66,432 from E & E Construction for the Proctor Branch Bridge project.

While considering bids for road materials, Magistrate Clifford “Sodbuster” Roe noted the board should consider transportation costs for moving materials in addition to the price per ton for items such as gravel, sand and salt. Carter County Judge-Executive Charles Wallace advised the fiscal court members they had the option of accepting multiple bids in such cases, allowing the county to work with a vendor nearest a particular project if transport costs are a consideration.

With only a single bid for petroleum products, Roe also amended the board’s bid approval to allow the county to take advantage of lower costs when available.

While opening bids for salt, magistrate Mary Ellen Greenhill noted the state had an overstock of the substance and was accepting bids for it a few months ago. Roe made a similar savings-option amendment as part of the motion to accept the salt bid, and Greenhill suggested the county also investigate if the state still has salt reserves at a good price.

Most of Tuesday’s special meeting was devoted to consideration of a supplier to provide health-care services to inmates at the Carter County Detention Center. Alan Adams of Correct Health told the fiscal court the company offered options unavailable through the current provider, including on-site equipment allowing trained nurses to complete EKG tests to determine if an inmate is actually having a heart attack or coronary problem.

The company’s trained medical staff also work with a “telehealth” system, he said, allowing a doctor to diagnose a problem or even providing access to a specialist such as a dermatologist in the case of a rash. The company’s nurses also are certified to provide IV therapy when called for, Adams said, further reducing the need for an inmate to leave the facility.

“Many inmates just want to take a free ride,” Adams said, explaining reduced offsite visits for inmates is one of the advantages of Correct Health’s program.

All drugs would be handled exclusively by Correct Health employees, Adams said, and any narcotics kept at the jail would be in limited quantity “under double lock and double key.” Jailer R.W. Boggs indicated he would be especially pleased to remove drug-dispensing duties from deputies working within the detention center.

Mike Coffee of Advanced Professional Health Care, the county’s current jail health care provider, made a similar presentation on behalf of that organization.

When Coffee came to an end and asked for questions, Greenhill calmly made several specific inquiries about issues including insurance limits and reimbursements before leveling point-blank questions about that company’s plans to offer any savings to Carter County “had we not called you.”

Judge Wallace advised the board to take the jail health care information under consideration and bring it back for a vote during a future meeting. With encouragement from Roe, however, Greenhill made a motion to accept Correct Health’s bid of $198,675 for health-care services at the detention center, and to give 30 days’ notice of intent to Professional Health Care, along with a statement their contract will not be renewed.