Should inmates get billed for medical treatment at county jail?

by Robert

My son slipped and fell on a laundry bag while in a county jail. He was knocked unconscious and received several stitches on the back of his head. He received a CT scan of his head/brain & cervical spine, which was negative; however, after more than 6 weeks, his neck is still sore & he is getting headaches.

He is also being billed at his home address for medical services, as well as money was taken from his personal account for removal of the stitches. Is this right? Should inmates be billed for medical services they receive while incarcerated? Should we contact a personal injury lawyer to look into this? Thank you for any perspective you can provide.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Should inmates get billed for medical treatment at county jail?":

Robert (Pennsylvania):

When referring to medical services for county inmates in the State of Pennsylvania the following laws apply...

Pennsylvania Statute, Chapter 95, Section 95.232, Subsection (8) states:

"Written local policy must provide for access to emergency care 24 hours a day for all inmates. A written plan must outline onsite treatment, evacuation, transportation and security procedures and designate emergency facilities to be utilized. All corrections personnel shall be certified in basic first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation in accordance with the time frames established by the organization that conducts the training.

Section 93.12, "Prison Medical Services Program" states in part:

"(1) At the time any medical service is to be provided to an inmate, the inmate will be informed by the Department or a health care professional contracted by the Department whether a fee will be charged for the medical service and will be provided with an authorization form. The authorization form will describe the medical service to be provided and authorize the institution to deduct the fee from the inmate’s account.

(2) An inmate who wishes to receive a medical service after being advised that a fee will be charged for the medical service, shall sign the authorization form acknowledging that his inmate account will be debited for the fee. An inmate who refuses to sign the authorization, who does not sign a refusal of treatment form and who accepts medical treatment will receive the services and his account will be debited. An inmate will not be denied access to medical services because of an inability to pay the required fee. If an inmate lacks sufficient funds to pay a medical service fee, the inmate’s account will be debited and the fee recouped as soon as sufficient funds are deposited in the inmate’s account."

It appears your son signed the waivers set out in above statutes before receiving medical services. Whether it was fair to have asked your son to sign the waivers when he was seriously injured is debatable.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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