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Cost for prisoner healthcare increases

The cost of providing healthcare for prisoners housed at the Butler County Correctional Facility has risen.

At Monday’s Butler County Commission meeting, commissioners approved a request by Quality Correctional Health Care for a 3 percent increase in the amount paid for the company to provide care to inmates.

Butler County had been paying Quality Correctional Health Care $7,946.77 per month. It will now pay $8,185.17 per month — an increase of $238.40.

The new contract received unanimous approval from the commission.

“I voted for the increase in the cost of the contract for inmate medical care. I did it reluctantly, but I did it,” Commissioner Frank Hickman said. “I was not given the information that I felt was necessary for us to make a decision on whether or not an increase was justified. We were just simply asked for an increase and never provided the figures to support the need for an increase. I don’t question the fact that the medical cost delivery system increase on an annual basis, and most likely the increase is justified, it would just simply be nice if someone comes to this commission asking for additional funds from the people of Butler County that they come prepared to support their request with identifiable, itemized revenue and expenses, so that we can make an informed decision. Dr. (Johnny) Bates has done a great job overseeing jail’s medical needs and I’m totally for it. I think they have been good for Butler County. I would just like that if someone is going to ask us for an increase, show us that you need it.”

Commissioner Darrell Sanders said the fact that there had not been an increase in six years, led him to vote in favor of raising the amount of the contract.

“The saving grace in my mind is that he has not had an increase in six years, as I understand it,” Sanders said. “Very few things have gone that long without an increase.”

Birmingham-based Quality Correctional Health Care has been providing healthcare to the county’s inmates since 2008, according to Count Administrator Diane Kilpatrick.