MACo Seeks Amendments to Local Jail Prescription Drug Bill

MACo Associate Director Les Knapp participated in a panel of local jail administrators and prison health care providers that offered amendments on HB 1335 before the House Judiciary Committee on March 9.  The bill, sponsored by Delegate Victor Ramirez, requires local jails to provide inmates who have been diagnosed with a mental illness access to a 30-day supply of medication for the mental illness upon the inmate’s release.  Part of the supply may be provided via prescription and the bill provides liability protection to the correctional facility and its employees and agents.

Mr. Knapp and the other panelists argued that the bill’s policy goal was laudable but that the bill should be made authorizing rather than mandatory, in light of the fiscal cost that would be borne by some of the counties.

The Senate hearing on the bill’s cross-file, SB 761, occurred on March 2.  A bill introduced by the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, SB 86, which would authorize local jails to provide medication upon an inmate’s release for any chronic or acute medical condition and provide the medication provider with protection from liability, has passed the Senate.  MACo supported SB 86.

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