Tribune-Courier News Editor
DRAFFENVILLE– Dealing with funding drops since a change in state policy and retirements, the Marshall County Jail is looking at ways to save money. Jailer Roger Ford said Dr. H.W. Ford and nurse practitioner Ruby Starks would no longer be providing inmates medical services.
“We knew that this was coming,” Ford said. “My nurse and doctor have elected to retire. I wish them a great retirement. I have been doing quite a bit of research with two different medical providers.”
Ford said he knew of only three other western Kentucky jails that did not already bid out medical services. Previously, the county tried to rely on local providers.
“I believe we budgeted right at $75,000 for medical,” Ford said, noting it did not include expenses for Starks, which costs an additional $20,000 annually. “Advanced Correctional Health has bid it at $98,838. We did prepare for this a little bit. I was preparing for my medical staff to retire. We did stick a little bit more in the medical line.”
Ford said Advanced Correctional Health had given two proposed estimates, one allotting 40 hours per week for a nurse and one for 24 hours per week. Given the steady drop in the number of inmates, Ford said he did not foresee needing the 40 hour service.
The cost would include a doctor’s visit one day per week, the cost of most prescription and over-the-counter medicine and disposable medical supplies. The county would still be responsible for outside medical visits, such as dentists or specialists. In recent years, the county has averaged $14,000 in outside medical expenses.
Attempts to find medical services provided by someone local at a comparative cost were unsuccessful.
Retirements on the dietary staff could also mean more changes. Ford said to offset the increased medical cost, he is considering outsourcing food services.
“To help possibly, I am looking at a food vendor,” Ford said. “They gave me one bid, I didn’t like it and turned it down. I feel like, talking to the other jails, I can save some money in this department that will offset the cost of the medical.”
Ford said he had been approached by CBM Managed Services, a Sioux Falls, SD based company. CBM provides food services for several western Kentucky jails.
“They’re going to provide the dieticians, the menus, the food, the help,” Ford said. “There again, the health [insurance] is what costs us. Average for the last three years, I’m running about $260,000 a year on my employees benefits and food.”
No action has been taken on food services. At its last meeting, the Marshall County Fiscal Court did approve for Ford to pursue a one-year contract with Advanced Correctional Health.