Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly wants to hire medical employees for the Nye County Detention Center.
Wehrly said she wants to bring medical professionals on board to give out medications to inmates and screen them. The proposal would be among some of the biggest changes since Wehrly took over the Nye County Sheriff’s Office.
“It’s going to be at a local grassroots level, but big enough to be able to support the population that we have,” Wehrly told the Pahrump Valley Times.
“The very first thing that I saw when I came in here was that the inmates have to leave the facility to obtain medical care,” she said. “And when we bring inmates in, they have a medical questionnaire that they go through, but we don’t have any real medical people to evaluate those questionnaires on duty and we never have. Nye County has never had that.”
The Nye County Detention Center currently houses around 170 inmates. The number fluctuates and the facility has had between 140 and 190 inmates.
“So, we’ve been trying to figure out different ways to be able to fund that kind of thing, so that when a person comes in, they are seen before they go into general population. So if they have a communicable disease, we are not putting the rest of the population at risk,” she said.
The bid process is currently open. So far, two private practitioners have expressed interest in providing services.
“There will be a cadre of folks. Two doctors have put in plans on what they want to do and it’s up to the county to determine which plan they want to go with if they want to go with either,” Wehrly said.
“They have to actually build a plan on what they are going to do for how much money and then, that plan is submitted to the county and the county makes up their mind if they are going to be either one of them,” she added.
The Nye County Detention Center currently engages services of outside medical professionals to examine inmates.
“It’s just going to augment the services that we provide in the jail and hopefully, catch people that have medical problems that we don’t know anything about,” she said.
Inmates come in with various medical conditions but Wehrly said she is more concerned about infectious diseases such as tuberculosis or MRSA.
“I think it’s going to save quite a bit of money and it’s not really convenience for me, but it is to protect the public,” she said.
Many detention facilities in rural parts of Nevada are in the same situation, as they often operate on tight budgets, Wehrly said.
“It’s really not common because most places don’t have the budget for it and we are trying to figure out how we can do this as cost-effectively as possible,” she said.
It’s unclear when the detention center will bring new medical personnel on board.
“I know it’s up to the county when we get it going and, it’s up to the county as far as the time frame goes,” Wehrly said. “But we and they are actually talking about how we are going to implement it. So, it is on the horizon,” she said.