Health care company wants almost $200K to continue coverage at Boyle jail

Published 8:17 am Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The company providing health care for inmates at the Boyle County Detention Center says it wants almost $200,000 more from Boyle and Mercer counties or it will stop providing medical coverage.

CorrectHealth Companies says staffing must be increased and coverage expanded to 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in order to provide enough time for medical staff to do their jobs, Jailer Barry Harmon told members of the Boyle-Mercer Joint Jail Committee Friday.

Dr. Carlo Musso with CorrectHealth contacted Harmon about “financial concerns, employee morale and everything that’s going on with his company in our jail,” Harmon said.

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“It’s putting stress on his staff where they’re not able to cover everything in the timeframe they have. He said — not threatening or anything, but just being honest in business — that we will need to go to 24-hour coverage, seven days a week, (with) 4.2 (full-time) nursing staff and one full-time nursing manager,” Harmon said. “… He said if you all decide you’re not going to do this, then they’re going to write a 30-day notice to stop providing medical coverage.”

Harmon clarified later in the meeting that it’s unclear based on emails from CorrectHealth whether the 4.2 full-time nursing positions requested includes the full-time supervisor position, or if it would be 5.2 positions including the supervisor.

CorrectHealth listed $473,629.13 as the price it wants for the expanded coverage.

Boyle County Treasurer Mary Conley said the current base contract with CorrectHealth costs $276,466 annually. When the jail renegotiated with CorrectHealth last year, the jail had the option of 24/7 coverage at $404,512, she noted.

“So it’s gone up substantially from that,” she said. “… This kind of knocked me out of my chair.”

“Me too — I couldn’t sleep,” Harmon said.

Members of the jail committee agreed the health care contract should be bid out to see what other companies would charge. And Boyle County Judge-Executive Harold McKinney suggested the counties look into essentially running health care at the jail in-house, by hiring a staff of nurses and contracting with a local doctor.

McKinney said he would schedule a meeting for himself, Mercer County Judge-Executive Milward Dedman and Harmon to meet with representatives from Ephraim McDowell Health to see what options might be available for contracting with a doctor.

No further action was taken on the issue during Friday’s meeting.