The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office unveiled plans for an innovative inmate health program, in partnership with Duval County's public health department, in a news conference on AUGUST 8, 2006, at 9:30 am in the Press Briefing Room of the Police Memorial Building.

For more than 10 years JSO has contracted with a private provider, Correctional Medical Systems, for the inmate care for the 50,000 arrestees processed through the jail annually, as well as those incarcerated in one of its three correctional facilities. The contract with CMS was projected to renew at $9.4 million dollars.

Under the new contract, DCHD will assume and significantly expand medical services within the facilities, while reducing the cost to the taxpayers. DCHD will create a clinic on site at the Pre-Trial Detention Facility, moving away from the 'custodial' level of care that often required the transport of many inmates to Shand's-Jacksonville, for minor treatment or tests. There is NO increase in the contract costs.

In addition to the cost of moving these individuals (such as hiring private security to monitor them) their healthcare costs were shifted to the city's indigent care contract serviced by Shand's-Jacksonville. With the elimination of these unnecessary transfers, the burden to the hospital and the cost to the taxpayers are eliminated.

Led by Dr. Max Solano, a public health physician, the new program will include triage and treatment of non-emergent care, on site, such as x-rays, intravenous medication, prenatal care, and methadone treatment for drug rehabilitation.

All services will be offered by qualified medical professionals who are employees of the state, and not contractors. Current CMS employees, who meet the qualifications, have been invited to apply for positions with the State of Florida, under which the Duval County Health Department operates.

'In addition to the immediate savings we will recognize by gaining certain economies of scale, I anticipate that this will become a national model for inmate health care. Dr. Solano's plans include electronic medical records, and a strong education program that will teach our inmate population how to become their own health care advocates. When they leave us, they will transfer to the care of the Department of Health. This creates a continuum of care that ultimately saves the taxpayer the cost of unnecessary or duplicative services or treatment,' said Rutherford.