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Jail having trouble hiring nurses
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The Warren County Jail is struggling to hire nurses due to the low pay. 

At the County Corrections Partnership meeting Tuesday night, Sheriff Jackie Matheny Jr. said they currently have two nurses and recently hired a third, but they are having trouble hiring more. 

The jail is trying to achieve tier two status in order to receive $6 more for state inmates.

“The issue is, I know that we have been big on this TCI accreditation thing being tier one and trying to get to tier two, but I don’t see any way of doing that. We are struggling keeping the nurses we have. Honestly they are talking about their pay and they give me a list of the nursing homes and stuff and they can make a couple more dollars an hour than here,” said Matheny. 

Matheny said the LPN’s at the jail make $24 an hour and Willow Branch pays $26 an hour. Having a limited number of nurses also affects the overtime budget.

“We are having trouble finding them. We struggled getting the one and we run on two for a while. When Tommy was here they ran on two and they wiped out the overtime budget. I mean they were getting a lot of overtime and running us out of overtime. So now we have that third in there,” said Matheny.

He suggested potentially getting a company to take over medical care. 

“My suggestion is if we are going to keep it the same way is they put out when we advertised for the doctor we got nine companies that reached out to us wanting to take over medical,” said Matheny. “A lot of sheriffs are going over and having a company come in and take over medical. I have asked a few and I even asked TCI what they thought of it and they said they are 50-50. You know if you have a good relationship and it’s working fine don’t change it, but some of the sheriffs say it is saving money. I don’t have all the answers to that to speak on it. We’ve just gotten into that and they are asking a lot of questions that I am going to have to find the answers to.”

Matheny mentioned that the jail may not be able to achieve tier two status. In order to become tier two, the jail would need 24 hour medical coverage. He says at this rate they might be able to get by with four nurses and possibly one part-time or five full-time nurses, but they are having trouble hiring them. 

“I think that we ought to look at paying them a little more and hiring part-time,” said Matheny. 

“Tier two, other than more pay for the state inmates what else comes with that?” asked Commissioner Carl D. Bouldin.

“Carl, I don’t know if it is anything but that incentive. To be honest with you, I’d like to get all the state inmates out of here so I don’t want just a whole big state inmate population,” said Matheny.