Marion County Inmates Get Improved Health Care
Stephan White was playing basketball in the jail trustee's rec yard when something went terribly wrong.
"I jumped up and I came down on top of a guy's foot and it just broke, snapped on me," White said.
White is a healthy 27 year old, so he was even more shocked to hear the news he got later.
"Come to find out, it was a good thing I broke my leg because I found out I have cancer," White said.
Since then White said he's been receiving care from a newly formed non profit organization called Ocala Community Care.
"Everybody's been supportive of me, give me like the best treatment that I can get," White claimed.
Ocala Community Care works with community hospitals and mental illness centers to keep track of inmate's medical records. Such tracking was more difficult when the jail contracted with a private health provider called Prison Health Services.
"Patients have better care, patients are being seen more in a timely matter, and treated properly," said Medical Director Dr. Jamie Rubio.
Treatment continues with pre-scheduled appointments once the inmates leave jail. Many of the medication patients can not go a day without their medication, which could be dangerous for the inmates and the community.
"Because they would go off their medications, particularly the mental health patients, that would cause them to return to crime," said Loreta Tolbert with the Marion County Sheriff's Office.
There are additional savings for using OCC because the county won't have to pay an automatic six percent rate increase every year. Other cost savings include the $200,000 OCC was budgeted for, but never spent, as well as the fact that there's no penalty for an increase in the number of inmates at the jail. In the past, the county was charged extra.
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