DeSoto County cuts inmate medical costs - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

DeSoto County cuts inmate medical costs

By Chip Washington - bio | email | Follow us on Twitter

HERNANDO, MS (WMC-TV) - DeSoto County is working to save money by cutting down on medical costs for inmates.

Until recently, DeSoto County paid out approximately $60,000 a year to manage its jail inmate health program. County Administrator Michael Garriga admits it's been a big problem for a long time.

"Increasing medical costs are always something we've faced with in society, but spending public funds on medical coverage for inmates is just one of those things that's frustrating," he said.

Two years ago, the county was approached by two independent medical management groups from Jackson, who were able to create an inmate medical benefit program. This would provide DeSoto county with pharmaceutical and claims administration review.

"You've gotta to be pretty savvy in understanding Medicare / Medicaid coding, procedural coding, diagnosis coding," Garriga said.

In other words, making sure the claims justify the cost. The process began last August, and it has begun to pay off for taxpayers in a very short time.

"It has resulted in about $200,000 dollars in savings in just a seven month period for the county, and that has reduced our medical claims for inmates significantly," Garriga said.

Baptist-DeSoto Hospital has also helped to cut costs by providing prescription and medical discounts to the county.

"When our inmates go to Baptist-DeSoto for medical attention, we're receiving a certain level of discount that benefits the city and the taxpayers," Garriga said.

Garriga says the total cost savings could reach upwards to between $400,000 and $500,000 per year a year.

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