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RCMH threatens suing county on jail bills

By Leah Wankum, Editor

The county hospital is threatening to sue Ray County if it fails to pay jail inmates’ medical bills.

The Ray County Commission and Ray County Memorial Hospital Board of Directors are still going head-to-head in a months-long argument about the question of which entity is responsible for paying county jail inmates’ medical bills.

In the meantime, Ray County Jail inmates wracked up more than $17,000 in medical bills and remained unpaid for the past two months. If the county fails to pay in full by Nov. 4, the hospital will pursue legal action.

An Oct. 5 letter from legal counsel for the hospital board, Chris Jayaram of Horn Aylard & Bandy, LLC, indicates that the board wants to resolve the problem “amicably and quickly.”

“However, these delinquencies, when combined with the suggestion that the County may not pay its debts in the future, threaten to disrupt and/or undermine the Hospital’s business operations and its future ability to serve the citizens of Ray County and the surrounding areas,” Jayaram wrote.

The hospital board’s legal counsel first rejected the commission’s proposition in July, insisting the county is legally obligated to pay the jail inmates’ medical bills incurred at the county hospital. The second letter indicates that jail inmates’ bills remain unpaid and total $17,201 for August and September.

Commissioners Jerry Bishop and Allen Dale said Prosecuting Attorney Camille Johnston, the county’s legal counsel, is “taking care of everything” to resolve the legal matter with the hospital.

The complete story is in the Tuesday, October 24, 2017 Richmond News.

Click here for our E-edition and read the rest of the story.

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