MOULTRIE — Local doctors will begin seeing to inmates’ medical needs in less than two weeks.

Colquitt County Correctional Institution Warden Billy Howell told the Colquitt County Board of Commissioners Monday he had been in discussions with two local doctors to handle medical needs for inmates. Following a successful site visit Wednesday, internal medicine Dr. Mukul Khurana and Dr. Jeanphis Laguerre will handle all inmate health services starting Jan. 1. The two doctors will take over health services from Southern Health Partners.

Colquitt County Sheriff’s Office Operations Capt. Julius Cox said Southern Health Partners, based in Chattanooga, Tenn., had been handling inmate health service needs at the jail and correctional institution since late 2004. The nurses from Southern Health Partners will remain on staff, however, to continue to provide services.

Khurana and Laguerre will provide services at the same cost as Southern Health Services, but Howell said he wanted to have the services performed locally. He told the commission he was convinced health services performed locally can help save the county money, and the commission applauded Howell’s efforts.

“Thank you for trying to keep the money in Colquitt County,” Commissioner Billy Herndon said.

Khurana and Laguerre are planned to visit the jail twice a week and the correctional institution once per week to provide basic health care, Howell said. The doctors will also determine whether an inmate with a serious medical condition can be seen at their office or needs to be taken to a hospital for treatment.

A question arose from the commission about what to do about prescription medication for inmates with the change, and Cox said they will “shoot from the hip” for the first couple of months. The jail and correctional institution will use local pharmacies for medicine until a medical formulary, or a list of medications a drug plan will pay for, is formed and sent out for bids.

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