RICHMOND – State rules “require” inmates to pay their own medical bills, but after inmates are jailed, Medicaid and private insurance companies drop them from health plans.
The inmates do not and cannot pay.
Ray County Memorial Hospital leaders said unpaid inmate bills are mounting. They brought the issue to the Ray County Commission last week.
Hospital leaders and commissioners have discussed the same problem previously within these parameters:
• Hospital leaders want commissioners to provide financial assistance to cover health care provided to county inmates;
• Commissioners say they lack the money to help, barely making ends meet;
• Hospital leaders say their business model also requires paying bills; and
• An impasse persists.
The conversation continued along the same lines at last week’s joint meeting.
“We’ve discussed this before, but we wanted to see if we could come to some resolution or some plan,” hospital board member Valerie Miller told commissioners. “It’s clear the county doesn’t have money, or doesn’t want to pay, or all of the above. The truth of the matter is, the hospital isn’t making money, we’re losing money (on inmates, which) is not something that we can sustainably continue to eat.”
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