Ottawa County Sheriff Jeremy Floyd and Undersheriff Dan Cook addressed Commissioners on proposed medical services for the jail with Turn Key Health Clinics.
MIAMI – This week's Ottawa County Commissioners meeting brought forth a consideration of proposals for possible health care services at the County Jail. Sheriff Jeremy Floyd and Undersheriff Dan Cook were in attendance to address Commissioners along with a representative from Turn Key Health Clinics out of Oklahoma City.
Health Services Proposals
Sheriff Floyd opened the discussion on the potential benefits of health services from Turn Key by emphasizing his efforts to continually find cost saving measures for his department and medical care as a primary area of liability concern for the County Jail.
"Gentlemen, as you know I'm pretty progressive in finding new and creative ideas in saving money," said Floyd. "A big concern as any Sheriff has in the state of Oklahoma is liability, especially when it concerns the jail and the biggest liability in the jail is medical."
Floyd turned the floor over to Flint Junod, Chief Executive Officer for
Turn Key who introduced the Board to the company's medical services for correctional facilities and the proposals being examined by the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department.
"We are currently working with 25 other counties in the state of Oklahoma and six in Arkansas," said Junod. "What we do is we partner with the Sheriff's office to come in and set on-site services for nursing programs that are correctional-based and based off of protocols."
Junod explained that available service contracts through Turn Key would include on-site nurses, visiting physicians and providers, and remote medical services via a telehealth network which he described as a "Skype-like" interface.
Turn Key would also provide a weekly clinic at the jail, medical providers available on call 24-hours a day, as well as prescription services, according to Junod.
Junod told Commissioners that Turn Key services would allow correction officers and the Sheriff's Department to concentrate fully on safety and security at the jail by having a company come in and assist them with medical services, while also lifting the burden of liability associated with those services.
"The Sheriff, Undersheriff and their staff, their primary focus is safety. Not just in the community, but in the jail," said Junod. "Having a company like ours come in and assist them takes huge liability off them because we bring in trained staff that are credentialed and licensed to manage medical services."
Commissioner Russell Earls expressed that he was always hesitant with such changes and asked for more information concerning what the Sheriff's Department had in place currently for medical services at the jail.
Undersheriff Cook addressed the Board to break down existing medical services, comparing costs and benefits against the two proposed options his department has been reviewing from Turn Key.
Cook explained that the Sheriff's Department currently employs one full-time nurse at the jail for a standard 8-hour shift Monday through Friday. The department also pays for physician services from Miami-based Certified Physician Assistant Aleta Fox, prescription drug services, malpractice insurance and miscellaneous items such as lab fees at costs between $163,000 and $169,000 annually.
Floyd then advised Commissioners that the annual costs outlined did not include transport fees for inmates to the hospital for assessments and treatment on top of the pull on department resources as medical transports from the jail call for accompaniment by a deputy.
Cook said the options available from Turn Key would include either a nurse on site 8 hours a day, seven days a week at an estimated annual cost of $158,000 or 12 hours a day, seven days a week at an estimated annual cost of $180,000.
Both service options also include a prescription plan along with supplemental services that would reduce medical transports such as on-site X-rays.
Junod added that Turn Key medical transports at correctional facilities similarly sized to Ottawa County's were averaged at about twice a month, representing a significant drop in the jail's current average of over two transports per week.
Cook said another program for consideration in conjunction with Turn Key health services would be a minimal medical co-pay fee collected through the jail's commissary. The idea being the fee would help offset medical service costs and serve as a deterrent to detainees in requesting unnecessary medical attention.
Earls asked Floyd which options he was considering and the Sheriff said he would like to pursue the 8-hour plan, leaving the option open to upgrade services as necessary or desired in the future.
Floyd also added that while conducting his research for medical services and during his attendance with Cook at state professional training earlier in the year, Turn Key was highly recommended by several colleagues.
Newly appointed Board Chairman and District 2 Commissioner Chad Masterson asked how long Turn Key had been in business and Junod said the correctional component had been operating since 2009 as an outgrowth of other medical companies established in 2005.
Commissioners approved the Sheriff's office to move ahead with seeking a contract agreement with Turn Key.
Dorothy Ballard is the managing news editor at the Miami News-Record. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @dm_ballard.