VALDOSTA – Lowndes County has a new medical provider for County Jail inmates.
Wellpath, based in Nashville, Tenn., Resumed medical operations at the Lowndes County Jail on Jan. 1, according to a company statement.
The agreement signed with the county provides for comprehensive medical, health and dental care as well as an electronic medical record system for detainees, the statement said.
The change in provider was due to annual service offerings and not issues with the previous provider, a Waycross-based company said, Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk said.
“Medical care is getting more and more expensive,” said Paulk, adding that the prison’s medical costs had increased by $ 2 million in the past year.
Many inmates who arrive at Lowndes prison are already in poor physical shape, he said.
“Detainees are not known to go to the doctor,” he said.
The prison typically holds 650 to 680 inmates, with around 40 inmates in the medical section at any one time, the sheriff said. The sheriff’s office is working to expand the prison’s medical quarters, as even those not in the medical section are reporting sick on call, Paulk said.
Wellpath offers services in 33 states and Australia.
Terry Richards is a senior reporter for the Valdosta Daily Times.