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Inmates Will Be Signed Up For Medicaid
Updated July 29, 2015 7:53 AM | Filed under: Politics
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(BEDFORD) - Lawrence County Sheriff Mike Branham told the Commissioners Tuesday morning that thanks to House Bill 1269 the county will save money on medical expenses for inmates by allowing them to sign up for Medicaid.

House Bill 1269, which will go into effect on September 15, would require the Department of Correction or a health navigator -- an inmate's authorized representative -- to apply for Medicaid for inmates who are potentially eligible for it or the new Healthy Indiana Plan, or HIP 2.0, and who run up medical care expenses that are not otherwise reimbursable.

The law would also apply to inmates in county jails, including Lawrence County's.

The law mandates that the county jail or DOC, or a health navigator, assist a committed offender in applying for Medicaid (HIP 2.0) and securing treatment upon discharge from either system.

HIP 2.0 is basically Indiana's Medicaid. People qualify for it based on their income, not their disability.

Sheriff Branham says uninsured inmates would sign up for the Affordable Care Act during their 14-day medical evaluation, which each inmate is required to complete.

Sheriff Branham says the law will save taxpayers money.

"I am currently working with family social services who would provide someone to sign up the inmates," he added.

In other business:

Sheriff Branham reported there were 138 inmates in the county jail Tuesday morning. Of those 39 were females and there were no Department of Correction holds.

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Sheriff Branham presented the report from the July 15 jail inspection. Sheriff Branham said that there were no major concerns, but he will have to address issues concerning the air conditioning system.

"It is just not keeping the jail cool enough," Branham added. "We will also have to do some painting and address the lighting. We must provide 22 to 29 candles of lighting, so as those old lighting fixtures go out they will be replaced with new LED lighting."

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Sheriff Branham presented the commissioners with a six-month commissary report.

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Miles Parker, of Parker Insurance, told the Lawrence County Commissioners that county employees will not see an increase or any changes to their health insurance thanks to positive negotiations with Anthem. The county was facing a 32 percent increase in the self-funding policy but thanks to Parker's negotiations with Anthem he was able to lower that increase to 5 percent. The increase was due to a high number of insurance claims.

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Highway Superintendent David Holmes reported crews are paving. Liberty Church Road from the Orange County line to the church, approximately a half mile, will be closed for paving Wednesday morning from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m. Burton Cemetery Road from Liberty Church Road to Harrison Road will be closed for paving Wednesday afternoon from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Burton Cemetery Road from Harrison Road to Fleenor road will be closed on Thursday for paving from 8 a.m. until about 4 p.m. No traffic will be allowed through.

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Holmes reported bridge work continues on Bridge 82 on Judah Logan Road over Salt Creek and on Bridge 89 on Guthrie Road over Salt Creek.

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Bedford resident Larry Will presented a packet of information on the road conditions in The Woods housing addition and other county roads. The packet contained information on what roads needed paving, how much it would cost and how the county could possibly pay for the paving. The commissioners thanked Will for his hard work and would review the information.

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Mitchell resident Ron Pridemore and Bedford resident Sam Shaw stated concerns about allegations of discrimination by Lawrence County Veterans Services Officer Brad Bough. The commissioner listened to written statements from both men about their concerns. County Attorney Dave Smith told both men that the commissioner's policy does not address personnel matters at public meetings. Those actions are conducted in an executive session.

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Treasurer Paula Stewart and Commissioner Bill Spreen gave an update on the improvements to the courthouse grounds and presented a contract with Duke Energy to replace the lighting around the square.

"The light poles will have to come down," Spreen says. "They will be installing new foundations and replacing the lighting. We figured it would cost between $50,000 to $75,000 but were surprised when Duke came back with a cost of $28,000."

Workers also discovered some damage to the base of the statue of Lady Liberty.

"We will have to address that issue in the new few weeks," Stewart added.

Both Stewart and Spreen asked residents be patient with the improvements which is causing limited parking around the square and the presence of a number of work crews and heavy equipment in the area.

"We have asked courthouse employees to park in lots behind the jail and other areas until the work is completed freeing spaced for the public," Spreen added.



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