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NEW BOSTON, Texas — Bowie County will be getting a new in-house inmate medical services provider next month for the two jails the county now operates.

Commissioners agreed Monday to hire the Oklahoma City-based Turn-Key Clinic Health Care Providers' firm to provide inmate medical care to prisoners being housed in both the Bowie County Correctional Center and the B-State Justice Center Jail.

During the court's first meeting of the year, Bowie County Sheriff Jeff Neal, who chaired a special committee appointed late last year by Bowie County Judge Bobby Howell to find a new inmate medical provider, told commissioners that the committee presented its proposal to Turn Key, after which the firm made an offer, including some additional services.

Besides agreeing to the basic proposals the committee offered, the firm suggested the county also allow the on-site medical director to be available an additional 20 hour per month, regarding response to any medical emergencies that may arise as well as provide psychiatric aid if need be.

Neal added that county presently has annual cost pool budget of $240,000 available for inmate medical expenses.

Neal further added that firm also offered dental care, which the county has already budgeted for.

Regarding any research the committee conducted on the Oklahoma City-based Turn Key firm, prior to deciding to recommend it for commissioner court approval, Neal said three Texas-based counties — Smith, San Jacinto and Burnell counties — all had favorable recommendations for Turn Key.

With Turn Key's recommendations added, Neal told commissioners, the overall cost of hiring the firm would be about $2.5 million annually. Following some additional discussion, commissioners approved hiring Turn Key.

LaSalle Corrections, a private company that's managed Bowie County's Correctional Center for several years, will be withdrawing and it will be taking its inmate medical services with it once its current contract expires Feb. 12.

In other business, Court members agreed to seek bids for getting a bank depository and they also accepted a $250 donation to the Sheriff's Office, from Bowie County resident David Palladino.

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