Construction on the new detention center in Pascagoula has been under way for only a few weeks, but the Board of Supervisors is already looking for ways to make some improvements. Troy Ross, Jackson County Supervisor of District 4, says, "It will be a consolidation of the healthcare cost to a private business that runs it. They’re professionals. They will be able to take the liability away from the county." The board says that by hiring an outside company to handle inmate healthcare, they can minimize certain risks and reduce costs. Ross also says, "They will have constant care, so you won’t have to worry about the person who has been sick for a while getting very sick and they will be monitored and watched more closely, so it will help with litigation issues and in the long term, save money." Money is a major concern for the board when looking for a company to tackle the task of providing healthcare for inmates.
John McKay, Jackson County Supervisor of District 4, says, "If all things being equal, would you be willing to negotiate with us on your price so you could get it back down, because cost to the tax payers is a big thing to us." Today, the board decided they would negotiate a contract with Jackson, Mississippi-based Health Assurance. This group operates several prisons and jails in the state. They say they try to work with as many local partners as possible. Lagrand Elliot, C.O.O. of Health Assurance, says, "We mentioned the local pharmacy. We will need a local partner for dental services, even though we have dentists here on the Coast, if we could have one right here in Jackson County, we would prefer that." This could mean more jobs available in Jackson County. Health Assurance says they are open to contract negotiations as long as it doesn't compromise service. No time frame for the negotiations has been set yet.