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County jail could save money by changing pharmacies

By By Chris Allen Baker/staff writer
Jan. 10, 2002
Lauderdale County supervisors could decide by the end of the month to change the pharmacy used by the county jail  a move that could save the county more than $1,000 a year.
One proposal would switch pharmacy vendors from Mr. Discount Drugs to Medicap Pharmacy. If approved at the supervisors' Jan. 22 meeting, the change would take effect Feb. 1.
Dale Higginbotham, the nurse practitioner at the county jail, told supervisors last week the county could save more than $1,000 a year with the move fulfilling their mandate to curb costs in the detention center's medical clinic.
Currently, she said, her staff must throwaway an inmate's prescription if he leaves the jail before using the full allocation. Higginbotham said that costs the county jail more than $1,000 a year.
With Medicap, Higginbotham said, the pharmacy will refund payment on unused medicine.
Last fiscal year, Higginbotham said, the medical clinic spent almost $76,000 on prescription medicine. Many prescriptions are written for diabetes, heart problems and high blood pressure, she said.
Higginbotham said the clinic treats an average of about 50 to 60 inmates daily. The county jail had 224 inmates as of Wednesday.
Higginbotham said the clinic tries to treat as many inmates as possible in-house to keep costs down. "Sometimes they have to be taken to the hospital for more serious conditions, but we try to stay here as much as possible," she said.