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“Most cost effective and more efficient…”
Following a unanimous approval by Frio County commissioners to change medical health care providers, jail staff is optimistic the new partnership will significantly affect the level of care and will be more cost efficient.
According to Frio County Auditor Crystal Marquez, the county currently has a contract with South Texas Rural Health to provide medical services to inmates housed at the facility.
The contract, good through September 30, charges the county $4,000 per month for inmate medical services.
“There is a surcharge per inmate visit as well,” Chief Deputy Peter Salinas told commissioners during a Monday, August 29, meeting.
Marquez said the visits average $50 per inmate and the jail is sometimes billed an extra $500 per week.
According to Salinas, depending on a prisoner’s ailment, some medical visits were $85 while others were $400.
Salinas proposed a contract with Dilley-based company Ready Care, that includes weekly visits by medical personnel to the jail with costs of inmate visits included in the $4,000 monthly bill.
“Ready Care can do a flat rate which will cover one on-site visit per month with no additional billing,” the chief deputy said. “This is more cost effective and more efficient. If we have an acute situation, we can schedule a visit with Frio Regional [Hospital]. We are dealing with Frio Regional anyway.”
The chief deputy says the only additional billing the county could incur with the company is for medical supplies.
Jail staff remain adamant that during the upcoming fiscal year the facility will operate at 96 beds, a requirement Salinas highlighted in the new contract.
The county will begin services with Ready Care on Oct. 1, which according to the chief deputy will give jail staff the required time to terminate the contract with South Texas Rural Health Services, Inc.
In other jail business, commissioners approved seeking bids for food service providers at the facility.