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Marion County Approves New Medical Contract For Jail Prisoners

By Bruce Kropp, WJBD News

The Marion County Board has approved a $101,000 a year contract for a Peoria based company to provide medical care for jail inmates.  The payment includes $25,000 towards the cost of hospital bills.  

Advanced Correctional Healthcare will provide a doctor and nurse who will make regular visits to the jail and will be available for jail staff to call 24 hours a day if there is a medical emergency.   Marion County Sheriff Jerry DeVore says the company uses a protocol to determine if an inmate should be taken to the hospital.   He's hoping the system will reduce the number of trips to the hospital.  DeVore says that will not only save on hospital costs, but also on overtime costs for staff to sit with the inmates at the hospital.  

The company will also manage medical bills from hospitals and outside sources to make sure the county is paying the right rate and only bills they should be responsible.  The county is currently paying $60,000 a year for a doctor and nurse to visit the jail, with the county paying all hospital bills.  

Finance Committee Chair Terry Johnston said he didn't think the county had anything to lose by trying the service.  While the initial contract is for 12 months, it can be cancelled with 30 days notice.  DeVore says other sheriff's who have utilized the company have given them high marks.  The company has contracts with jails across a multi-state area.  

The vote was 7-3 to enter the contract, with Board Chair Erwin Hahn, Creighton Engle and Louis Fogleman voting no.  Mike Reed and Tabitha Meador abstained.    

Marion County Courthouse employees will soon be able to enter the east and west doors of the courthouse with key fobs.  The board approved the $5,200 purchase as a better option than having to pass out a large number of keyes when the courthouse doors are rekeyed in the near future.   DeVore says the fobs can allow different employees different access and can also keep track of when employees enter and leave the courthouse after hours.  

Board member Mike Reed felt allowing the employees to enter through the west door defeated the courthouse security which makes the public enter through only the east door to go through security.   DeVore notes the west door will still be locked and the fobs will mostly be used in hours the courthouse is not in operation.  The purchase was approved on a nine to three vote, with Johnston and Fogleman joining Reed in voting no. 

The Marion County Board has reluctantly agreed to accept a final contract worked out with the City of Centralia to house the county's vicious and stray dogs at a cost of $3,000 per month.  Board Chair Erwin Hahn says the agreement will get the county by the rest of this fiscal year as he looks at other options.  He felt the county was required under law to at least have a way to handle vicious dogs. Engle didn't feel the county had a choice either, because they had no plan 'B'.  

The board approved the contract even though it is not yet in their possession because the two month interim contract at the same cost was expiring.   Johnston was the most vocal no vote, noting it was costing $60 per dog some months to have them house at the Centralia Animal Pound. 

The board received some good financial news.  Johnston reported the state has now almost caught up on reimbursements to the county.  

The Drug Court was given permission to plant a new tree to replace Salem's former Christmas tree on the southwest corner of the courthouse square that died during last year's drought.  The city will provide the tree.   

The board reappointed Roy Woodward to the Salem Fire Protection District Board for another term.  Jack Sanders and Gerald Hunter were reappointed to the farmland assessment committee.     

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Police Beat for Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

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