Full time nurse to be added to county jail medical staff

photo by Vickie Carpenter

Brittney Lofthouse – Contributing Writer

Macon County Detention Center is one of the few facilities in Western North Carolina to have access to a full-time dedicated doctor. Commissioners originally approved the contract for Dr. Jason Creel for $60,000 per year. Sheriff Holland’s budget last year included $425,000 for medical services, which covers the cost of medical supplies and medical bills for inmates. For the fiscal year that ran July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019, the sheriff’s department spent $330,413 of the annual medical budget. 

“We are required to provide adequate and appropriate medical services for inmates,” said Sheriff Robert Holland. “Detention officers or any other member of the MCSO are not qualified to make medical decisions and this updated contract will allow us to have the appropriate qualified medical personnel making medical related decisions.”

Last week commissioners approved an amendment to the contract which will allow the detention center to also now have a full-time nurse available for inmates. 

By contracting with a local doctor and by adding a dedicated nurse, the medical services at the jail will be more effective and efficient, Holland explained to commissioners last week. 

“Dr. Jason Creel has been an asset to the community and our staff,” said Macon County Detention Center Lt. Derek Jones. “To extend his contract and add a nurse to the staff is a tremendous step in a positive direction by adding additional services at no additional costs. This saves a lot of time and money in the fact that many services are now available in-house rather than traveling outside for such services.”