The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

Local News

May 10, 2013

County wants inmates to help with medical costs

Medina Journal-Register — ALBION — According to the Orleans County Legislature, inmates at the Orleans County Correctional Facility spent over $69,000 on commissary items in 2012.

With that number in mind, the legislature on Wednesday backed a bill currently being debated at the state level that, if passed, would have inmates pay a $7 co-pay for their medical expenses.

Currently inmates do not pay for their medical bills, and the county passed the resolution on Wednesday with a unanimous decision. The basis for the change, according to the resolution, stems from the increased cost of providing medical care to inmates without “sufficient relief through state and federal reimbursements.”

By having inmates ante up a co-pay, the county would see a savings by reducing the amount of frivolous medical claims, legislators said, adding it would also be able to better provide medical care to those inmates with valid needs.

The co-pay would also help to “defray the escalating cost of providing healthcare.”

In other legislative news, the county approved an agreement between New York eHealth Collaborative, Inc. Regional Extension Center Heal 22 and the Orleans County Department of Mental Health.

The county’s Mental Health Services Director Mark O’Brien said the agreement will not cost the county. It involves putting the department’s records on computer, and the NYeC REC is giving “full practice participation,” O’Brien said. 

The aide provided by the e-health collaborative, O’Brien noted, was paid for by money from the HEAL 22 Grant. He added, “We’re already going electronic, and this helps us.”

The legislature also joined other counties in the area by declaring “Mayday for Mandate Relief.” This resolution, which passed unanimously, calls on the state to stop creating so many unfunded mandates. According to the resolution, the New York State Association of Counties has pointed to nine state mandates that make up 90 percent of county property taxes. 

Also on Wednesday, the county renewed its one-percent sales and use tax local law until 2015.

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