The City of Leesville is reevaluating the way it pays for inmate health care.
As of last year, it cost the city more than $100,000 to offer proper health care to its inmates.
In hopes of decreasing spending while still providing the necessary health care the city has entered into a service agreement with Business Health Partners which will help with cost while offering 24-hour care for inmates.
Business Health Partners costs the city $1,200 a month and will advise prison employees on what to do when it comes to inmate care. The goal being to prevent unnecessary emergency room visits.
A portion of the current costly ER trips stem from drug users who are experiencing withdrawals in jail causing them to have panic attacks.
"That (panic attacks) is constantly costing the city thousands and thousands of dollars, because before we had no option other than sending them straight to the ER," Leesville Mayor Rick Allen said. "The first thing they are going to do is the EKG, then a CAT scan. Then they send you an $18,000 bill and saying that he had a panic attack."
The city will have a 60-day trial with Business Health Partners. If the trial run is satisfactory the city will enter into a year-long contract with the organization.
Business Health Partners will come by the jail during the day to provide care. At night, it will advise via telephone or video conference.
Business Health Partners is an occupational medicine clinic which sets up on-site clinics inside industrial facilities and has expanded into jails and prisons.
Owner Bryan Hollingsworth already has on-site clinics set up at the Vernon Parish Jail and the Beauregard Parish Jail.
"The inmate health was a problem," he said during the meeting. "It was a problem for Beauregard Parish at the time. The inmates had to go the ER late at night, because while Sheriffs Departments and police departments do really well at law enforcement, they don't know a lot about medical.
"The No. 1 need is that we need someone to treat their primary care issues. Just because somebody goes to jail doesn't mean they don't have issues with diabetes, hypertension and all kinds of issues. Basically, we need to get them at the same health as when they came in."
City Council members will vote on approving a $675,000 loan for its new town hall at its next meeting on August 13.
"The attorney from the bonding commission that is handling that will be here next meeting to answer any questions anybody has on that or the city's ability to pay that," Allen said.
The city also approved the purchase of 20 new golf carts for the Leesville Municipal Golf Course due to high demand of carts with just eight being available.
The tennis courts at the golf course will also receive a $40,000 upgrade, with $20,000 of it coming from a grant from the United States Tennis Association. Local donors also pitched in to help cover some of the city's costs.
The grant will allow for the resurfacing of the existing four courts and provide new paint for the surfaces, as well as new nets.