Recently there was some discussion on the cost per hour of the medical services provided at the Jefferson County Justice Center during the last few years of housing prisoners from both outside and inside the county.
In December 2004, I was fortunate to become the chairman of the County Board and I immediately saw several areas in the county government that was not in line with good practices of our primary task of keeping the county fiscally sound. One of those areas was the medical costs for our county prisoners for the year 2004 which exceeded $85,000 for our in-county prisoners. I am not condemning any individual in this letter, as I am a believer in the capitalist system of profit and loss in all areas, except government.
Government should be accomplished with the lowest bidder and up until that time, the medical contract had been awarded by means other than bidding. We were facing severe fiscal problems and some very deep cost-cutting procedures were necessary. The County Board, led by myself, Jim Laird and Dexter Edmison, decided the need for bidding this task was necessary and placed it before the board in January 2005. The board overwhelmingly approved this and several other cost cutting ideas that keep this county out of bankruptcy. At no time did this board suggest a payment of $35 per prisoner seen.
Upon taking bids, the Dr. Parks, PA Burwell team was awarded the bid to provide medical services to the Justice Center, and has used that same bid for several years. The sheriff reported to the board in his monthly sheriff's report the hours worked at the jail and off-site, which I am going to assume is time for paperwork, as we do not send prisoners to their office. In my prior editorial, I stated that we paid as much as $700 per hour for some of these services.