County weighs healthcare options for inmates

No recommendations made yet by committee

By KAITLIN GEBBY
Posted 6/25/20

Three sales pitches were heard Wednesday from healthcare companies who bid to offer clinical care and health advice to the Bradley County Jail. Fast Access Correctional Healthcare, Southern …

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County weighs healthcare options for inmates

No recommendations made yet by committee

Posted

Three sales pitches were heard Wednesday from healthcare companies who bid to offer clinical care and health advice to the Bradley County Jail. 

Fast Access Correctional Healthcare, Southern Health Partners and the county’s current contracted healthcare service for the jail, QCHC, gave presentations to the Law Enforcement Committee on Wednesday, explaining how they could best serve the jail and its inmates. 

Fast Access Correctional Healthcare, directed by Dr. Jonathan Kerley, told the committee he and his company were interested in a “partnership” with the county. Kerley has worked in health care for the last 12 years running a private practice with multiple locations. 

Kerley said he would be the on-call individual available for advice or help 24/7. In addition, the jail will be staffed by nurses around the clock. He also said he’s offer an onsite clinic for correctional officers. 

He explained the importance of working one-on-one with the sheriff’s office and said, if the county chose his business, he would meet with Sheriff Steve Lawson regularly and routinely offer a detailed report. 

Kerley said there was a “basic flat fee structure with no hidden costs.” 

Chairperson Commissioner Erica Davis was primarily concerned with the availability of electronic medical records and storage, which Kerley said he was familiar with and would be able to provide. 

Southern Health Partners, which is based out of Chattanooga, offered a similar structure with multiple options for nurses on call. The county was also given the option to hire a 24/7 nurse position for the intake area of the jail. 

Southern Health said it would provide either 24/7 registered nurses at intake for $379,272 annually, or a licensed practical nurses for $271,020 annually. 

Southern Health’s charges included the cost of over-the-counter medicines, with the option to include a cap on prescription drug costs. 

QCHC reviewed its services to the Bradley County Jail and the county government for the last 10 years, starting in 2009. 

QCHC noted that the cost of their annual contract has doubled since 2009, as the cost of healthcare has outpaced inflation for the last decade. 

Originally charging around $613,000 for their healthcare services, the county now pays $1.1 million for the health care of their 350-plus inmates. 

The committee adjourned the meeting without discussion of the provided options and without recommendation to the commission for which one they might choose. 




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