Sheriff proposes co-pays for inmates

The Knox County sheriff's department is proposing a plan to help cut down on unnecessary visits to the jail nurse.

Posted: Jun 18, 2019 6:10 PM
Updated: Jun 19, 2019 9:10 AM

KNOX COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - Twenty-five visits. That's how many inmates one nurse sees on a daily basis at the Knox County jail.

Sheriff Doug Vantlin says, "If they have any kind of, anything they want to talk to the nurse about back there they just fill out a slip and they go talk to the nurse. That fills the books up for the day."

Healthcare costs the department roughly $485,000 a year. Some of those visits are warranted. However, Vantlin says that's not always the case. That's why they are considering a plan to implement a $10 co-pay for inmates.

Vantlin says, "What we would do when they sign up to see the nurse they would take, we would take ten dollars out of their commissary for a office visit. Just like anybody else would go to a doctor's office and have a co-pay, they would have a co-pay in here also."

The inmate's commissary account are funds that are provided by the family. The plan would also call for a $5 dollar charge for prescription medication.

Vantlin says, "When you start charging them a co-pay, those visits will go down. Those prescription medications will go down. So it will help that but it will also put some money back into the line item for the medical expenses."

Vantlin stresses that the program is intended to only cut down on unnecessary visits.

Vantlin explains, "I want to make it clear we're not, we can't deny anybody medical. And we won't deny anybody medical who needs it. But if they have some money on the books to help pay they will."

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