Inmate medical billing options heard

Beth Rumsey, Staff Writer

“We want to help counties to save money on inmate medical expenses,” D.J. Kreal, Correctional Risk Services, told the commissioners at their regular meeting on Monday, February 23. According to Kreal, the Nashville, Tennessee, based company provides the county with administrative support such as verifying the services charged by the medical provider and keeping backup copies of the bills in case of an audit.

Kreal explained that the medical provider sends CRS the bill, which is then screened visually and by a specialized computer program, and then adjusted with a pre-negotiated discount with the medical providers. CRS then produces an invoice which will show errors, adjustments, and with the original bills attached to the invoice. According to Kreal, the county will send one check to CRS, who will in turn pay the medical providers.

CRS does not charge a premium for this service. Instead, the county would pay 30% of the savings. “It’s a win-win situation,” said Kreal. CRS also offers an inmate excess medical insurance, up to $250,000 with the fees based on the average number of daily inmates. The commissioners will continue to discuss the information provided with the sheriff’s department and make a decision at a later date.

Charles Malinowski, Malinowski Consulting, presented the commissioners with the 2008 Cost Allocation Results. The report showed expenditures from the various county offices, and the state allowed reimbursement amount from the indirect costs such as salaries, wages, and expenses. According to Malinowski, the amount is from services provided under Title IV-D, such as child support. The commissioners thanked Malinowski for his work. “You’ve done a tremendous job for us,” said Commissioner Robert Reiners.

Courthouse maintenance Johnnie Lohrum reported that he has received permission from the Town of Versailles to make repairs to the courthouse clock. The town will pay for the materials used in the repairs.

Ripley County Veterans Services Officer Ken Hilton requested the use of an area for the set up of a mobile van. On October 9 disabled veterans will have the opportunity to seek eligibility for benefits.
The commissioners unanimously approved the recommendation from Technology Director Kelly Vollet to replace the auto excise tax program. The request from the Ripley County Republican party to use the courthouse hallway for an organizational meeting on March 7 was unanimously approved.

In other business:

• The Ripley County Assessor Shawna Bushhorn and the commissioners opened bids for the 2011 property reassessment. The motion to take the bids under advisement was unanimously approved.

• Bids for two tractors and a mower for use by the Ripley County Highway Garage were opened. The commissioners unanimously decided to take the bids under advisement for further review.

• Ken Griffin and Susan Groves, Indiana Department of Health Public Health Preparedness and Emergency Response, introduced themselves to the commissioners. Griffin and Groves will work as a go-between for the county health department and the state during emergencies.

All commissioners were in attendance along with county auditor Mary Ann McCoy and county attorney Neil Comer. The next meeting will be held on Monday, March 9 beginning at 7 a.m. at the county highway garage in Osgood and reconvening at the courthouse annex at 8 a.m.