A last-minute resignation last week left the Madison County Detention Center without medical staff, and the fiscal court moved Tuesday to help resolve the problem

The magistrates voted unanimously to enter into a one-year contract with Advanced Correctional Healthcare, which will provide all medical services and assumes all medical-related liability for the detention center.

Scott Sykes, who was serving as the sole medical staff for the entire jail, left last ween with one day’s notice, said Jailer Doug Thomas.

The county will pay $164,165 per year for Advanced Correctional Healthcare’s services, that includes the cost of prescription drugs.

Sykes, a phsysician’s assistant was paid $48,000, Thomas said.

The county also has been paying about $36,000 a year for prescriptions, said county treasurer Glenna Baker.

The jail will contribute a minimum of $5,000 each month from its commisary fund to lighten the taxpayers’ burden, Thomas said. The monthly contribution could be more than $5,000, depending on how much the commissary fund generates, he said.

The contract with Advanced Correctional Healthcare calls for the firm to provide medical services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That will include a full-time, on-site nurse, an on-call doctor and two backup physicians.

The agreement will help the jail save money in various areas, including prescriptions, transport and food service, said Michael Coffey, expense analyst for Advanced Correctional Healthcare based in Peoria, Ill.

Thomas said the firm could help reduce the county’s cost of inmate’s meals to 77 cents per meal.

“Your county will absolutely be taken care of,” Coffey said. “We customize our programs to meet the needs of the county. We have 210 agreements (with county jails), therefore we have 210 different agreements.”

Thomas said he has talked to surrounding counties that use Advanced Correctional Healthcare, and all were pleased with the services they were receiving.

The company serves 26 county Kentucky jails, including those in Clark, Jackson, Rockcastle, Laurel, Whitley, Grant and Casey counties.

The contract includes a 30-day-out clause, allowing it to be cancelled without penalty if the county is unhappy with Advanced Correctional Healthcare’s service.

Madison Judge/Executive Kent Clark said he felt confident Advanced Correctional Healthcare would adequately provide all the medical needs at the detention center.

“It’s important to get the best, and I’m really impressed with Advanced Correctional,” he said. “I made some phone calls, and I haven’t found anybody who doesn’t like them. With the population at the jail running over full capacity, it’s an accident waiting to happen.”

Magistrate Roger Barger voted in favor for obtaining the services, but not without comment.

“It’s sad when good, hard-working people can’t get the (health care) services that some of these people in jail are going to get,” Barger said. “But, that’s the society we live in.”

Magistrate Greg King expressed concern about the contract not being put out for bids, but was reminded by Clark that the short notice left the county no time to seek bids.

If the county is not pleased during the 30-day trial period, the project could be bid out, Magistrate Larry Combs commented.

Combs was the only magistrate to vote “no” on a plan to redraw magisterial district lines.

According to state law, a county’s magisterial districts must be re-apportioned every 10 years after new federal census data become available. The county’s population is divided by four and that, with 10-percent deviation margin, is the number of people who may be included in each district.

Minimal changes were made, effecting 175 county residents.

“I don’t like it, but I know I’m going to be outvoted and I understand that,” Combs said. “It hasn’t been done right in 30 years. In defense of the (county) clerk, he did what he was supposed to do.”

However, Combs said his district is short about 1,300 to 1,400 people.

“It would have been very easy to move two subdivisions, Atwood and The Oakes, to my district, and me and Mr. (Greg) King would have been equal. I’m not mad over it, but I’m disappointed.”

The court voted to amend the 2011-2012 fiscal-year budget to reflect $7,227 in excess truck licensing fees.

The next Fiscal Court meeting of the Madison  is scheduled for 9:30 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 11, at the county courthouse, Richmond.

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