The Herkimer County Legislature’s Committees on Public Safety and Emergency Management and Ways and Means on Wednesday evening approved of renewing an agreement with Bassett Healthcare Network to provide care to active tuberculosis patients at the correctional facility.
The full legislature will vote on renewing the agreement during their quarterly session on Jan. 9 at 2 p.m. in the legislative chambers of the county office building at 109 Mary St., Herkimer.
Sheriff Christopher Farber said with the agreement in place, inmates at the Herkimer County jail with tuberculosis will be able to receive treatment at Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown.
“The county will not pay Bassett Healthcare Network unless the service is utilized,” he said.
Farber added there are currently no inmates at the jail with tuberculosis.
“We hope we do not pick anyone up with tuberculosis, but it can happen,” he said.
The sheriff said the jail doctor and nurse are able to test for tuberculosis on premises, but lack the ability to treat inmates who test positive for the contagious bacterial infection.
“For example, our doctor and nurse do not have access to an X-ray machine at the jail,” he said. “People with tuberculosis really need to be treated at a hospital, so once the doctor or nurse can confirm an inmate is sick with it, the contract allows us to transport the inmate to Bassett Hospital.”
The county last renewed a three-contract for this service in 2010.
In other business Wednesday evening, the committees approved an agreement with the State of New York Unified Court System for court security. Farber said the agreement provides court attendants to judges and the county currently has three people who serve in this capacity. He added the county receives 100 percent reimbursement for the program from the state.
The full legislature will vote on the agreement at their Jan. 9 meeting.