McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

March 8, 2013

Commissioners approve X-Ray contract for PCSO

By Rachel Petersen
Staff Writer

McALESTER — Commissioners approved a contract between the Pittsburg County Sheriff’s Office and Sooner X-Ray on Monday during their regularly scheduled meeting.

“Their will be no cost unless we utilize their services,” said Pittsburg County Sheriff Joel Kerns. “And if we do use them, the cost is about a third of the price compared to taking the inmates tot he hospital.”

When an inmate is in custody at the Pittsburg County jail and an injury occurs, said PCSO Undersheriff Richard Bedford, the county is responsible for paying the medical bills.

When an inmate complains of a pain in his arm, whether there is swelling or not, we have to take him to the hospital to be X-Ray’d, Bedford said. That can get very expensive. Instead, Sooner X-Ray will come to the jail and set up at the nurse’s station and do the X-Ray for a faction of the cost, Bedford said.

“This will help us keep ER (emergency room) costs down to a minimum,” the undersheriff said. “And the great thing about it is the cost is the same whether they come out to X-Ray one inmate, or 10.”

Bedford also clarified that inmates are financially responsible to pay their own medical costs on any pre-existing medical conditions they may have had prior to being in custody at the jail. “But if something happens while they’re here, we are responsible for those medical costs,” Bedford said. “And this new service will really help us keep those costs down.”

The commissioners approved the contract with Sooner X-Ray pending review and signature by District 18 District Attorney Farley Ward.

Contact Rachel Petersen at rpetersen@mcalesternews.com.

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