Wright County Board approves jail medical contract switch

Over the years, few costs associated with running county government have been more annoying to the Wright County Board of Commissioners than its responsibility to cover jail medical expenses for prisoners at the Wright County Jail.
A single prisoner is capable of racking up tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills. At the Oct. 22 meeting of the county board, the commissioners approved a proposal to switch the county’s jail medical contract, which has a starting base cost of more than $200,000 a year.
Jail Administrator Pat O’Malley brought the proposal to the board, which would switch the county’s jail medical contract from Allina to the Waite Park-based firm MEnD. O’Malley stated that the contract would be something that, in the end, will save the county thousands of dollars a year.
“Allina decided not to continue its contract with the county earlier this year,” O’Malley said. “As a result, we had to go looking for a new vendor for the contract. We believe the benefit we will get from MEnD will be favorable to the county and provide a strong level of service for less money.”
Under the current contract, Wright County paid a base contract of $240,457 for 2013 – an increase of 17 percent from the original contract signed in 2011. Under the new contract, the 2014 base cost will be $217,600 with a scheduled 2 percent increase in each of the final two years of the contract, which O’Malley said would provide the county with more budgeting stability than it had under the previous agreement.

See this week’s print edition of the Monticello Times for the complete story.