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Yellowstone County Commissioners and Riverstone Health have reached agreement regarding a contract that will henceforth govern the provision of health services that Riverstone will provide to the inmates of the Yellowstone County Detention Services. The agreement took longer than anticipated, and still has details that will have to be ironed out as the two entities plunge into unchartered waters.
The plan is a "prototype," explained Deputy County Attorney Kevin Gillen to County Commissioners in submitting the final draft. He said that the 18 month contract can be modified as needed, as they progress into the new arrangement that will provide inmates with immediate medical care and dental services. The contract will become effective in January 2012 and run through June 2013.
Commissioner Jim Reno expressed some concern about the terms of the contract that allow Riverside – the city-county health department – to impose charges that cover both direct and indirect costs, plus five percent. Reno said that he didn't think that Riverside should be seeking to make a profit, nevertheless, he would agree to the contract, because it is better than the county-run services.
Commissioner Bill Kennedy said that he believed that with time the issue of the five percent override would be resolved. He said that Riverside Administrator, John Felton, was just concerned about the uncertainties that could be encountered in the new arrangement. The agency has had to increase staff to meet the new demands of the jail and they wanted to be sure they would be able to cover those costs.
An area of the detention center has been remodeled to serve as a clinic. Most medical needs and basic dental care will be provided for on site under the auspices of Riverside. Health care providers at the detention center who were previously employed by the county have been given the opportunity to apply for the new positions with Riverside. It is expected that some $1.2 million in health services will be provided for under the contract – which is a savings over the past system and will reduce liability risks for the county.
The Big Sky Business Journal
P.O. Box 3262
Billings, MT 59103