Medical co-pays for sentenced Mahoning jail inmates initiated

By Peter H. Milliken


The Mahoning County commissioners have OK’d co-payments by sentenced county jail inmates for consultations with jail nurses and physicians.

The co-payments will be $5 for each consultation with a nurse and $10 for each consultation with a physician.

The money collected will pay for jail operations and such things as purchases of cameras, computers and security upgrades, said Sheriff Jerry Greene. “I’m hoping it’s going to generate $5,000 to $10,000 a year,” the sheriff said.

Besides raising revenue, the fees likely will help discourage unnecessary medical consultations, the sheriff said.

The co-payments will be deducted from inmates’ commissary fund accounts.

No inmate will be denied medical service due to inability to pay, the sheriff said.

About 30 percent of the 480 inmates now housed in the county jail have been sentenced, said Maj. Alki Santamas. The remainder are awaiting disposition of their cases.

These new fees are in addition to a $40 inmate reception fee, a $25 sex-offender registration fee, and fees for criminal background checks and foreclosures, which the sheriff initiated to generate revenue shortly after he took office Jan. 7.

At a hearing before Thursday’s commissioners meeting, Bill Malson, grants coordinator with MS Consultants, announced that the commissioners have selected several local projects to receive $313,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant money.

The awards for the projects scheduled for construction next year are: $40,000 toward a new sanitary sewer along McCartney Road in Coitsville; $63,000 for resurfacing of McGaffney Avenue between Washington and Jackson streets in Lowellville; and $70,000 each toward the resurfacing of 14th Street between Robinson Road and Tenney Avenue in Campbell, new off-street parking on the south side of State Street in downtown Struthers, and replacement of deteriorated sidewalk on Bexley Drive between Maplecrest and Rhode Island drives and on Rhode Island Drive between Bexley Drive and Idaho Road.

Commissioner Anthony T. Traficanti commended Robert E. Bush Jr., county Job and Family Services director and a Marine veteran of the Vietnam War, for receiving the veteran-of-the-year award Monday from Donald Lockett VFW Post 6488.

The commissioners also recognized the county recycling division and Damascus Elementary School for winning U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Waste Wise awards for their 2012 waste-reduction programs. This is the fourth time in seven years for the recycling division and the fifth time in six years for the school to receive this award.

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