Sheriff looks to reduce inmate medical bills
by Rory Doyle
Mar 07, 2013 | 2916 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Bolivar County Sheriff's Department is forming a partnership to bring money back to the unit that is rightfully owed.

Sheriff Kelvin Williams received support from the Bolivar County Board of Supervisors to partner with the CorVel Corporation of Jackson, which will help reduce medical bills charged to the department anytime county inmates receive medical treatment outside the Bolivar County Regional Correctional Facility.

"In the first year I've been sheriff I noticed we've been paying too much for these medical bills," said Williams. "We needed to do something to cut costs and help save the county money."

Often times these bills are double-charged or overcharged due to mistakes with the paperwork.

Williams learned more about CorVel at a meeting hosted by Commissioner Christopher B. Epps of the Mississippi Department of Corrections in Jackson on Feb. 28.

Representatives from CorVel promoted their services to Williams and a dozen county sheriffs from across the state.

"This is a company that specializes in assisting agencies reduce medical bills," said Williams. "They have a proven track record and they've saved the Mississippi Department of Corrections millions of dollars.

"This is about not putting money out there that belongs to the county. Anytime we can eliminate that — let's do it."

Williams added that the partnership is needed because his department doesn't have the resources, personnel or time to negotiate with medical providers.

CorVel has helped agencies all over the country resolve these problems.

The corporation is also a national provider of industry-leading workers’ compensation solutions for employers, third party administrators, insurance companies and government agencies seeking to control costs and promote positive outcomes.

Cathy Marshall, bill review manager at CorVel, provided information to the supervisors at Monday's board meeting.

"We have been a national cost-containing program since 1976," said Marshall. "In 2012 alone we processed $9 billion in bills and saved our clients about $4 billion.

"We want to come in and save the sheriff's department money," added Marshall. "We don't get paid unless we get the bills reduced."

CorVel would get 30 percent of each reduced charge, but the process would still bring money back to the county since it has previously been paying bills at cost.

"On average we save clients about 62 percent per bill," said Marshall.

CorVel works with a number of municipalities throughout Mississippi and has helped the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman save on countless bills.

The claims management company also operates with a national network of preferred healthcare providers, case management, medical bill review, disability management and group health programs.

"It's a win-win situation," said Williams. "I'm all for reducing bills by 60 percent."

The board voted unanimously to support Williams working with CorVel.