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Commissioners Adopt Plan to Save on Inmate Medical Care Cost

Published April 12, 2012 @ 6 a.m.

During the regular meeting on Monday, April 9, Garza County Commissioners' Court adopted a resolution to help reduce the cost for the indigent health care of inmates in custody of Garza County.

The resolution would authorize the county to pay current Medicaid rates for some health care provided to inmates in custody of Garza County and those from other counties detained at the Garza County jail. 

Brandy Fannon, Administrator of the Garza County Health Care District explained to the Court that the resolution would put a process in place to cut the cost of some medical care provided to inmates by calculating the Medicaid rate for the services. 

In an interview after the resolution was adopted, Fannon provided details of the cost-saving plan to garzapost.com:  "Prior to the resolution, the county was paying private pay rates for medical services such as lab work, xrays and emergency care,"  Fannon said.  "Now, with the resolution, the county will pay the Medicaid rates."  She sited this example:  $1191.00 in medical care prior to the resolution (private pay rate) would be $667.00 (Medicaid rates), providing a savings of $524 to Garza County.  "I will calculate these claims and provide the information to the County Treasurer who will pay the bills,"  Fannon continued.  Her fee to the county for this service is $10 per claim.  "The Garza County Health Care Board has approved my doing these claims on my own time.  They are aware, and I want to be sure everyone understands, that I will be doing this work on my own time."  This service is not part of Fannon's responsibilities as Administrator of the local Health Care District.

The resolution will not effect prescription drugs for inmates.  These are purchased at the local pharmacy which does not participate in the Medicaid program.  There will also be no change in the medical care for inmates contracted with Dr. Ben Edwards.

The resolution was approved as presented and the Court voted to pay the administration fee out of the health care line item of the sheriff’s department budget.  This is the same line item currently used for inmate health care expenses.  "The savings from this new process should more than cover the cost of the fee,"  said County Judge Lee Norman.  "It should not be an additional expense against this line item."

Chris Atkinson, Director of the Community Recovery Center presented information about the Center’s 30th Anniversary activities and scholarship fund.  An Open House is scheduled for May 17th at the CRC.  Atkinson also discussed activities and statistics from activities at the Center over the past year.  A new fee structure for some services has been initiated with a portion of those fees going toward a $500 C.J. Schoenrock Scholarship program for a PHS student.  Schoenrock was Director of the Community Recovery Center for many years before her death in 2009. The CRC will continue to develop resources to make the scholarship award self sustaining.

Atkinson also reported that he was recently awarded MTC’s (Dalby Unit’s) 2012 Community Supporter of the Year award.

Merika Strivens, representing Garza County at Community Action, presented information about the Texas Home Investment Partnership program for Garza County.  A total of 10 homes can be built:  5 in the City of Post and 5 in the county.  She recommended appointing Community Action as the consultant on the project.  There is no requirement of the county to match funds and the construction could take up to two years.  Recipients of the homes must meet specific requirements as outlined by the program.  The Court voted to adopt the resolution as presented. 

Trent McDonald, damage control technician for the Garza Wildlife Damage Association gave a verbal report of recent activity.  Because of the recent rains, McDonald has noticed an increase in the feral hog sightings, but did not report any disease issues.  Property owners can still participate in the feral hog eradication program.  (For more information contact McDonald at 254-434-1326.)

Commissioners voted to accept a bid of $1251 from David Welch for an 1971 International fire truck.  Two other bids were received: $400 from Tim Tanner; $425 from Randall Love. 

In other business before the Court, minutes from the March 23, 2012 special meeting and the March 26, 2012 regular meeting were approved as presented.  The following items of information were brought before the Court as a written report or for discussion and approved as presented:  Clerk; Tax Collector/Assessor; Senior Transportation.  Precinct and countywide accounts payable for March 27 through April 9 were also approved as presented.  No line items or budget amendments were presented.

The next regular Commissioners’ Court meeting is April 23.

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