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Adding more oversight for Madison County Jail inmate medical billing

MADISON COUNTY Ala. -- There's about a $17-million budget for the Madison County Jail, with $3-million being spent on inmate medical and dental services. The Madison County Commission signed an agreement Wednesday they say could cut back on inmate health care costs and save taxpayer money

"When folks are incarcerated yes they get sick. We're seeing some of those that have alcohol problems, mental health problems, whatever it may be," said Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong. "We want to cover what we're responsible for, but we want to be sure that they're not taking advantage. And while they're in jail getting other services performed."

Strong said in many cases they have been billed for the expenses of someone who is no longer in jail. The commission signed a contract with Millennium Risk Managers, one they say will better find these oversights, and could save money.

"We want to pay what we are required by law to pay, but don't want to pay a penny more," Strong said.

He said Millenium Risk Managers will provide a new set of eyes and look at every bill that goes to the Madison County Sheriff's Office. He said they will make sure the medical procedures actually happened, that happened within the guidelines of the law, and that the inmate is still incarcerated.

"Healthcare cost is something that is very expensive.  We want to be sure that we maintain the health of the prisoner, ensure their right to their sixth amendment right to a speedy trial," he said.

Strong said this agreement will ensure the county pays the least amount possible while providing the services that are required.

"I don't think that a prisoner should get better health care than the common person here in our county," Strong said.

Before this agreement, inmate outside health care was billed through the commission, the sheriff's office, and the existing medical provider in the jail.

Millennium risk managers will work with Southern Health Partners, the group that has the medical contract for the Madison County Jail.