prescription card an option
Medical expenses for inmates discussed
Beth Rumsey, Staff Writer
Ive never seen claims like this, said Ripley
County Commissioner President Robert Reiners at the commissioners'
meeting December 4. He was referring to the claim of over $4000
for medical/dental expenses for inmates presented to the commissioners
by the sheriffs department.
According to Sheriff Tom Grills, the entire expense is for 11
inmates. When prisoners arrive at the jail with broken teeth or
infections from poor dental care, the protocol is to give antibiotics
until the prisoners can be seen by a dentist. Chief Deputy David
Pippin stated, We want them (inmates) to leave the jail
no worse than they come in. Sheriff Grills has also implemented
a $250 cap, allowed by the state, per inmate for dental work.
Pippin noted that medical expenses this year have been a nightmare.
He provided examples of an inmate who had seizures and one who
fell in the shower and split his head. According to the sheriff,
most of the prisoners who come into the jail have no insurance.
He did note that the Department of Corrections will reimburse
the expense if the inmate is part of the DOC. Ive
done everything in my power to defray the costs, said Sheriff
Grills. This is a serious issue across the state.
Auditor Mary Ann McCoy suggested the sheriffs department
use the county prescription drug card to help with expenses. I
know that other counties are using this card to help with payment,
said McCoy. The sheriff agreed to look into the matter.
The Inmate Medical Fund, presented to the county council, to charge
inmates to see nurses and for prescription drugs, was approved
unanimously. The Ripley County Sheriff Home Incarceration Work
Program ordinance was approved unanimously. Sheriff Grills presented
County Attorney Neil Comer with information concerning a lawsuit
over a vest.
The sheriff requested an amendment to the county policy handbook
He referred to an employee who allowed access to private information
and later was released for insubordination. According to Attorney
Comer, the standard operation procedure needs to be specific to
the sheriffs department. I dont know how we
can write a rule that applies county wide, Comer noted.
This issue will be presented at the next county council meeting.
Funds were received by the sheriffs department to allow
three more jailers to be hired. Sheriff Grills requested the employee
overtime policy be amended to exclude the sheriffs office.
This will allow them to work 12 hour shifts, with three employees
on each shift and will not exceed 80 hours per two week pay period.
This will be presented at the next county council meeting.
Sheriff Grills expressed concern over the repeated attempts to
get a vendor to replace tiles in one of the inmates showers
that are falling off. He noted that the shower has been shut down
until the tiles can be replaced. With the number of inmates increasing,
Grills is concerned that the jail will be in violation. He requested
the commissioners contact the vendor to resolve the problem.
John Gause of Apex Benefit Group presented bids for health, dental
and life insurance. The county employee health insurance will
stay with Anthem, although the deductible will be raised to $750
and office co-pay increased to $30 per doctor visit. It was suggested
that a representative from Apex and Anthem be available in the
future for any questions that the employees might have. Auditor
McCoy noted that the $94,000 health insurance premium could be
paid for on December 31 out of current money in the group insurance
fund. The motion was unanimously passed. You really put
out a good effort and we appreciate it, stated Reiners to
The commissioners unanimously passed the motion to accept Fort
Dearborn Dental Insurance, which includes orthodontia. This policy
will cost the county $44,600 per year. Gause noted that the employee
contributions will stay the same, with the exception of those
who choose to have the orthodontia rider. The county employee
life insurance will be with the same company as before, Fort Dearborn,
with the same coverage of $15,000. This was passed unanimously.
County liability insurance bids were presented to the commissioners
by Brad Samples. The current policy is held by St. Paul Travelers
Insurance, and the renewal will include additional coverage for
the Busching Bridge in Versailles. The bid by HCC Insurance Company
had premiums about the same as Travelers with a few
advantages. For example, general liability is $1,000,000 with
$3,000,000 aggregate and $10,000 medical payment coverage in case
of an accident on public property. The commissioners unanimously
accepted the bid for HCC Insurance. It was noted by Attorney Comer
that Travelers Insurance should be informed of any possible claims.
In other business:
Ted Spurlock, secretary/treasurer of the Ripley County
Redevelopment Commission, presented the re-appointments of current
board members. This was passed unanimously.
The salary reimbursement for the Ripley County EMA was
The mechanics budget for the highway department will go
before county council due to an increase. According to Junior
Heaton, Ripley County Highway Superintendent, $203,770 was approved,
but the department has incurred $205,637 in costs for gas, tires,
Ripley County Assessor Shawna Bushhorn requested additional
office space for files that are in use every day. Commissioner
Folz expressed concern over a suggestion that the files be stored
in the hallway of the courthouse. He suggested a different style
of file cabinets be used. Bushhorn agreed to look into the situation,
and see what options are for file cabinets.
Johnnie Lohrum, maintenance, had nothing to report, but
noted that there will be some trees planted this week.
Tad Brinson, planning commissioner, discussed the plans
for the next Planning Commission meeting.
Kelly Vollet, technology coordinator, informed the commissioners
of the placement of a trial copier in the surveyors office.
The office will receive a copier in January. I want to commend
the Office Shop (of Batesville) for all of their help, said
Vollet. It was noted by Commissioner Folz that Vollet is doing
exactly what the state recommends for the technology department.
The 2008 holiday schedule and the commissioners schedule
was unanimously approved.
Katharine Taul, Ripley County tourism director, requested
approval for the current board members to continue to serve two
more years. This was passed unanimously.
Commissioners Lawrence Nickell, Charles Folz, and President Robert
Reiners as well as Ripley County Attorney Neil Comer were in attendance.
Minutes were recorded by Auditor Mary Ann McCoy. The next meeting
will be held on December 17 at 8:00 a.m. at the Commissioners
Conference Room in the Courthouse Annex.