Oklahoma County ordered to pay $3.3 million to jail medical company
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Supreme Court has upheld a ruling that Oklahoma County must pay $3.3 million to the county jail’s medical provider.
The court on Tuesday said the county is required by the state constitution to pay for the care of inmates and ordered the payment to Armor Correctional Health Services.
The county did not dispute the amount owed, but argued it shouldn’t have to pay because Armor had not provided proof the funds were available and had appealed a lower court ruling that it should pay the company.
The state Supreme Court rejected the county’s claim and found that Armor must be paid for providing “reasonable, proper and necessary” medical services to the county’s inmates.
An attorney for the county was not immediately available for comment.
Oklahoma County Commissioner Brian Maughan released the following statement:
“This decision was not unanticipated, given the poor management and irresponsible handling of taxpayer funds by Sheriff John Whetsel and his administration, as was so clearly outlined in the report of the State Auditor. We should recall that the Board of County Commissioners and the Budget Board specifically allocated funds to pay Armor’s bills, and that Sheriff Whetsel arbitrarily decided to spend those dollars on other matters,” Maughan’s statement read. “The real tragedy of this is that Oklahoma County taxpayers will ultimately foot the bill, through increased property tax assessments over the next three years.”