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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Law could help CCSD budget

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A new law could help local governments and sheriff's departments control jail budgets by providing cost limitations on inmate medical costs.

"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.

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I am so happy to see that this bill is on the move! There is no justification for inmates to be receiving basically the same quality of care our President does when citizens of our community (especially the self employed) have to go sick or wait until practically dieing to get medical attention due to cost. The savings to the Justice Center will allow for other, more productive, things to take place. I hope to see the Justice Centers GED classes really take off. What a joy it was to see inmates (all ages)participating in those classes. Even a GED is better than NOTHING at all!

Good luck Sheriff!

-- Posted by karenmeister on Mon, Mar 23, 2009, at 8:26 AM

Well I really dont know how they get inmates get same care as president, I know some one who was there for a 1 1/2 before that got them on Meds for a mental diesease. When that was the problem the whole time

-- Posted by kd323 on Mon, Mar 23, 2009, at 8:44 AM

I have to agree with KD there is no way we get the same medical care out here in our hospitals as the president does; just think of what his docs charge; but on the other hand are we paying for the medical care that the counties take in from the state prisons or is that included in what the state pays our county to house them. also they say costs keep increasing how about the sheriff getting a certain salary and doing away with certain perks of making money off sheriffs sales and the money leftover after meals they they can serve cheaper and pocket the rest , our laws ought to start protecting us from keeping the politicians from getting richer if they want to make new laws

-- Posted by brazil citizen on Mon, Mar 23, 2009, at 9:08 AM

Indeed, it is a shame that we are paying for inmate medical care at all. A lot of inmates have their own money, lots of it! Why not make them pay for their own medical care IF they have money. If they are underage and have parents carrying insurance on them, let that insurance pay for their medical costs. A lot of inmates spend hundreds of dollars weekly on commissary and other non-necessary items. If they or their families have money, why should the state or county (i.e. the people whom they have injured) pay for their medical care. I happen to know for a fact that lots of inmates incarcerated in state prisons spend hundreds of dollars weekly for JUNK FOOD, NIKE AND REEBOK TENNIS SHOES, and every other thing that a lot of the working public cannot afford. Some inmates have trust accounts that are larger than our bank accounts when we are out here working and trying to earn a living and take care of our families. Why then, should inmates who have broken the law, be allowed to purchase all and sundry when they can afford to pay for at least a portion of thier own medical care? I don't know about county level, but at state level they are charged FIVE DOLLARS for their cost share. That is not enough when they have trust accounts with hundreds, even thousands of dollars in them. If they don't have money, fine, pay for their healthcare. But if they do have money, let them pay for their own healthcare instead of wasting it on JUNK FOOD! At the state prison level I have watched 2100 inmates spend on an average of $35,000 to $50,000 WEEKLY! This is in addition to the 3 meals that we, the state or county (i.e. the people of Indiana) provide them with every day. If they have money in their trust funds to pay for their own medical care, make them pay for it! Inmates should not be anymore exempt than the rest of us. If they have $1000 in their account, then charge them $900 for their portion if they have to go to the hospital. If the doctor's bill is $250 and they have $500 in their account, let them pay their own bill. They can afford it! If we are going to change laws, why not start with the right ones?

-- Posted by Val1959 on Mon, Mar 23, 2009, at 12:05 PM

i know that they charge inmates 20.00 for med. and if they don't have it they don't get med.

-- Posted by pink on Mon, Mar 23, 2009, at 4:24 PM


You have been grossly misinformed.

-- Posted by karenmeister on Mon, Mar 23, 2009, at 5:11 PM

Sheriff Heaton use Mitch Daniels 101 economic policies which ends up costing CCSD more than it should.

Example, I had an ex-step son who was an inmate at CCJC for about 4 months.

He had accumulated medical expenses. When I sent him money, CCJC took every cent of it.

When I found out about this, I question Sheriff Heaton, he said it is policy to pay for inmates medical.

I recommended he only take half, he refused.

If he had of only taken half, I would of sent more money each month.

To make a long store short. CCJC would of collected twice as much money.

After all, CCJC charges $5 for pair of underwear when you can buy pack of 3 @ Wal-mart.

-- Posted by Victory_tc on Mon, Mar 23, 2009, at 9:09 PM

i agree with you vic they even tried to charge them for toilet paper they have to pay doubble for anything they get

-- Posted by pink on Mon, Mar 23, 2009, at 10:09 PM

I might be wrong, but I think inmates shouldn't expect life to be equal to what it's like outside the walls of confinement. Pink....I have to pay for toilet paper, so why shouldn't they? Also, I pay over $600 per month for my medical insurance, so what's wrong with expecting those incarcerated to pay their bills as well?

-- Posted by littletad on Tue, Mar 24, 2009, at 8:26 AM

Brazil citizen, you need to do a little fact checking. Sheriff Heaton has never received any of the surplus meal money as a portion of his salary. The meal money option was available to him when he first took office and he turned it down. With the increased prisoner population in the new jail and the amount of money the county was required to pay per meal, Sheriff Heaton could have easily made $100,000 over his salary by taking the meal money, but he didn't.

The Sheriff's current salary is dictated by state statute and is based on a percentage of the Prosecutor's salary (60% I believe). The Sheriff doesn't receive any money from Sheriff's Sales as salary, that money returns to the County General Fund and is then used to fund other things, but not the Sheriff's Salary. It is kind of funny that you mentioned that certain "perks" should be done away with, you probably don't know, or care, that Sheriff Heaton turned down a raise mandated by state law in order for the members of the department to receive more while putting less of a burden on the tax payers.

The money received for holding state and federal inmates helps to pay for the cost of the new jail. County tax dollars aren't used to pay their medical expenses, their expenses are paid by the agency they are being held for, which is tax money, but not Clay County tax money. If inmates have money to buy junk food, why shouldn't they have to pay part of their own medical expenses? Inmates who have no money receive medical treatment free of charge as well as other necessary items.

If you don't want to take my word on what the Sheriff's salary is or if he receives money from Sheriff's sales, then check for yourself--it is all public record and is on file at the Court House.

-- Posted by Unsolicited opinion on Wed, Mar 25, 2009, at 5:14 PM

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