|Medical costs reduced in the county jail|
Brian Smith with Stat Mobile Imaging LLC takes an x-ray in the Franklin County Jail.
Friday, August 24, 2012
The Franklin County Sheriff's Office has partnered with the Free Clinic of Franklin County, Stat Mobile Imaging and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield to reduce medical costs within the Franklin County Jail.
"These partnerships are crucial to effectively and efficiently managing a jail in these economic times," said Sheriff Bill Overton.
The Free Clinic provides primary health care and prescription health care services to the inmates housed at the Franklin County Jail, according to Capt. Mark Torbert. These services include on site sick calls, clinic appointments, disease prevention and wellness promotion activities.
The services are provided at no cost to the Franklin County Jail, Torbert said. Funding for this program is provided through grants obtained by the Free Clinic.
The Free Clinic has been providing these services since April.
"As we began to target invisible groups within our community that required health care services, we realized that one of these groups were incarcerated individuals housed at the Franklin County Jail, " said Lois MacDonald, executive director of the Free Clinic.
MacDonald contacted Overton to create a partnership to reduce overall medical costs.
"As I took office, I knew I was accountable to the citizens of Franklin County with regards to our budget," Overton said. "With that in mind, I began to evaluate every aspect of the office and sought out ways to bring our costs within a manageable budget."
"This partnership with the Free Clinic became a clear way to get a handle on the medical expenses we were incurring at the jail," he added.
While this program is cost effective for the sheriff's office, it also provides a continuum of care for these individuals during their incarceration and after they are released, MacDonald said.
"These services follow these individuals once they are released, which is important for the health care challenges these folks face as they reenter our community," she added.
Another partnership with the jail involves Stat Mobile Imaging LLC, which provides mobile x-rays, EKGs and ultrasounds for the inmates, Torbert said. Their services reduce transportation costs and eliminate the need to take an individual from a secured facility to an unsecured facility for imaging services.
"We are able to bring the latest imaging technology straight to the Franklin County Jail, which reduces the waiting time at traditional hospital facilities," said Brian Smith, owner. "This reduction in time allows medical services to be provided to the inmate in a timelier fashion."
Not only does Stat Mobile provide imaging services, they forward the computerized images to board certified radiologists, who utilize FDA approved secure technology to provide prompt interpretations of the images taken, Torbert said.
Stat Mobile has been providing this service to the Franklin County Jail since June. While the services provided by Stat Mobile are cheaper than traditional imaging services, Overton said, "You cannot place a value on the safety of our deputies and our community by not having to take inmates to a medical facility for these services."
Another cost saving partnership has been developed with Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield through a contract with the Virginia Sheriff's Association, Torbert said. This partnership allows the Franklin County Jail to provide higher healthcare services to inmates at a cheaper cost.
Through this partnership, all medical billing goes directly to Anthem to manage the costs, Torbert added. The sheriff's office benefits by being charged an in-network contracted price.
"The cost savings through Anthem is significant and the Virginia Sheriff's Association estimates that most organizations that utilize this program save in excess of 40 percent," Overton said.
"These three partnerships are a few examples of how the sheriff's office has reached out to find innovative ways to show fiscal responsibility and accountability," Torbert said. "While the inmates benefit from the medical care provided as a result of these partnerships, the true winners are the citizens of Franklin County through a reduction in costs."