Co. Leaders Renew Jail Health Care Contract - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Co. leaders renew jail healthcare contract

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Col. John Ostrander, Dougherty County Jail Director Col. John Ostrander, Dougherty County Jail Director
County Administrator Richard Crowdis County Administrator Richard Crowdis
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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Dougherty County Commissioners renew an agreement with Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital that will save county taxpayers nearly a half Million dollars over the next year. Phoebe will continue to provide health care for jail inmates, and the hospital is lowering the amount it charges the county for the service.

The county entered into a six year agreement with Phoebe in 2010, which consisted of six one year contracts with the option to extend. Commissioners and the Jail administrator say the hospital continues to offer inmate care at a discounted rate each time the county renews one of those agreements.

County Leaders say the inmates housed behind these barbed wire fences are getting the best medical care possible. "We have enjoyed having Phoebe on board. The quality of care to the inmates has improved. Our costs have decreased in a lot of areas. They've been very, very responsive to any of the needs that we've had," said Col. John Ostrander, Dougherty County Jail Director.

Prison Health care services used to oversee the medical care at the jail. But the county switched to Phoebe three years ago as a way to simplify operations. "They've been able to analyze the types of medical needs that in the past have caused us to have to send inmates out of the facility for treatment. They've been able to provide those services within our facility, which has lowered our costs, reduced our man power needs, etc.," Ostrander said.

And county leaders say the jail's cost reductions as well as a large discount from Phoebe are big help to future budgets...especially at a time when the county has been searching for funds. "It was a discount of $475,000 for this next contractual year. And that will reduce the jail's budget, the overall jail fund M & O operating budget for next year. So that was much appreciated," said County Administrator Richard Crowdis.

Ostrander says the agreement could also bring long term benefits to the inmates. "Also, when the inmates are released from jail, any follow up care that they are going to have is likely to be with a Phoebe provider. So, that continuity is something we could never attain from another provider." 

Ostrander says Phoebe will continue providing top notch medical care for those paying their debt to society. Ostrander says the agreement has made it much easier for doctors to treat inmates who have just been locked up.

He says many often have a medical history with a Phoebe provider, making critical medical records more accessible to care providers. The contract prevents Phoebe from increasing what it charges the jail for medical services.

 

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