"Whenever an inmate receives medical care while incarcerated, it's at a premium cost to the department," Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton told The Brazil Times.
"This new bill will help curb those costs."
The Indiana Sheriff's Association is supporting House Bill 1182, which has been recently passed in the Indiana House and is currently under consideration by the state Senate in the Indiana General Assembly.
District 62 State Rep. Sandy Blanton (D-Orleans) authored the bill, which would ensure the county jails are charged for medical services at no more than 4 percent above the Medicare rate.
The bill also includes policies that would ensure a hospital or physician could only charge a cap of 65 percent on services, devices or testing procedures not included under Medicare.
According to Heaton, CCSD incurred approximately $140,000-$150,000 in inmate medical costs in 2008, which is why he requested the allotted amount in the department's 2009 budget be changed.
"It's been raised to $180,000 to accommodate rising medical costs," Heaton said.
"If the bill passes, it will be very helpful to sheriff's departments across the state. We would still pay a little more, but not as much as was possible."
CLARIFICATION March 24, 2009
Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton contacted The Brazil Times recently to help clarify questions about inmate medical billing. In compliance with Indiana statute, Heaton explained uninsured inmates are charged $15 co-pays per doctor visits and for necessary prescription medications, while inmates with established insurance coverage have their medical costs billed to their insurance companies.
Heaton confirmed the collected uninsured inmate co-payments are returned back to the county budget to cover medical expenses.