Senate Committee Considers Legislation to Exempt Counties from Certain Inmate Health Care Costs

The Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee considered Senate Bill 855 sponsored by Senator Christopher Shank.  Under the current law, counties are responsible for up to $25,000 of an inmate’s medical expenses. The state reimburses counties for all of the costs greater than $25,000.  The bill proposes that a county is not responsible for the cost of medical care for an inmate associated with a specified preexisting condition or an injury that is self-inflicted during the inmate’s commitment in the facility.  Local correctional officials testified in support of the bill.

According to the Herald Mail , Washington County Sheriff Douglas W. Mullendore said the county spent more than $360,000 in the last fiscal year on care for inmates with pre-existing medical conditions.

That included bypass surgery for an inmate who had a heart condition when he was incarcerated. Mullendore, representing the Maryland Sheriffs Association, said the surgery cost about $160,000. Washington County had to cover the first $25,000 and send two officers to accompany him, he said.

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