Commission OKs inmate medical funds
by BRIAN GRAVES Banner Staff Writer
Jul 22, 2014 | 740 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print

The Bradley County Commission approved a recommendation from the Finance Committee to pay $20,819.06 toward the medical expenses of inmates involved in an accident while being transported in April.

It is an amount almost three times less than the total of $68,476.80 billed from four different providers.

The accident occurred April 29 when a Bradley County vehicle, driven by a county-jail employee, struck the rear of another vehicle.

There were 10 inmates on board and the total medical charges for each (hospital, ambulance, radiologist and emergency room physicians) ranged from a low of $5,141 to $11,016,40.

Finance Committee Chairman Ed Elkins said two of the providers — Erlanger Bledsoe (hospital) and Emergency Physicians Inc. (emergency room charges) — had agreed to the customary 55 percent discount with insurance.

The other two — Bledsoe EMS and Radcare of Tennessee (radiologist) — had not formally agreed, but asked the county to send the claims forward to them for review.

The county’s total expenses after the discount, should the remaining two accept the discount, would be $30,819.06.

However, the county’s insurance under the Local Government Property and Casual Fund, will pay $1,000 per inmate.

That is a fortunate break for the county as the liability section of the county’s policy covering medical payments specifically does not include inmates.

“This is coming out of the general fund,” Elkins said. “We had considered paying out of the inmate medical fund and doing an amendment later, but that seemed like an unnecessary shuffle.”

Commissioners also gave approval to releasing the duty handguns to five retiring Bradley County Sheriff’s Office employees.

The county policy allows for that action for an employee who is “retiring honorably with at least 20 years of recognized law enforcement service.”

According to the list provided by the Law Enforcement Committee they are Sheriff James Ruth, Chief Deputy W.G. Campbell, Major Jim Hodgson, Capt. Bill Dyer and Lt. James Brown.

Approval was also given to the appointment of Bill Burch to a three-year term on the Library Board.

Vice Chairman J. Adam Lowe cast the only dissenting vote after questioning the lack of a resume having been submitted to the commission.

Commissioner Jeff Morelock said the recommendation came from the Library Board.

Commissioner Jeff Yarber said the policy required resumes for commission appointments which was confirmed by Chairman Louie Alford; however, Yarber cast the first “aye” vote when the roll was called and then questioned as to whether the commission had just set a new precedent on the requirement for resumes.