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Inmate medical costs reduced

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By Jeff M. Hardison

BRONSON - About $40,000 worth of medical bills paid by Levy County to North Florida Medical Center and Shands at the University of Florida were negotiated down from the original charges of about $60,500 incurred by Levy County Jail inmates, according to records.

Levy County Attorney Anne Brown received approval for settlement of inmate medical expenses for former LCJ inmates Roy L. Britt, 23, of Chiefland and James R. Pendlebury, 51, of Chiefland.

On Dec. 19, Lt. Evan Sullivan of the Levy County Sheriff's Office said Britt is wanted on a violation of probation charge. When he was in jail previously and needed medical care, it was on a charge of battery, Sullivan said.

Pendlebury had been in jail for possession of crack cocaine, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia when he needed hospital care, Sullivan said.

The Levy County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved the payments to settlement the old medical bills on Dec. 18.

Britt's first bill was $46,563.90 but Brown negotiated for the county to pay only 65 percent of the bill -- $30,266.53 and that includes the $822 the county already had paid on the invoice from NFRMC.

Pendlebury's bill of $13,909.90 was reduced to $9,041.41, according to records.

County Coordinator Freddie Moody told county commissioners they should be appreciative of Brown's work. Brown said thanks should be given to her assistant Susan Haines for the reduced bills. Haines reportedly has a background in insurance.

Counties are responsible for the medical costs incurred while prisoners are in the counties' custody.

There is $100,000 set aside in the LCSO budget for inmate medical costs during Fiscal Year 2007-08, according to records. Records show the Levy County Commission has budgeted another $200,000 for inmate medical bills in this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 20, 2008.