County paid $62,000 for suspect's medical care

Champaign County taxpayers had to pay about $62,000 for the medical care rendered to a man charged with home invasion as well as pay for hundreds of hours for police to guard him.

Anthony S. Brown, 25, of Champaign was taken to Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana, on Sept. 9 after being hit four times by gunfire from Champaign police officers.

The shooting occurred at 1207 Crispus Drive, where Brown allegedly forced his way in while armed and was threatening the people present — his girlfriend's three children and a toddler.

"When he came in initially, he was walking around with a gun saying, 'Where's your mother? I'm going to kill her,'" recounted State's Attorney Julia Rietz, who said she felt the officers were justified in firing at Brown after he pointed a gun at them.

Preliminary reports were that eight rounds were fired and four hit Brown.

Taxpayers had to start footing the bill for Brown's care nine days later on Sept. 18, when Sheriff Dan Walsh served the warrant charging Brown with home invasion and being an armed habitual criminal.

Walsh said he served the warrant when he believed it was possible for Brown to leave the hospital under his own power. That meant law enforcement officers had to begin guarding him at the hospital.

Brown was released from Carle on Oct. 12 and taken directly to the county jail, where he remains in lieu of $1 million bond. His next court date on the Class X felony charges is Jan. 22.

So far, the sheriff's office has received about $161,152 in hospital and medication bills for Brown but has paid only about $61,886 since the county receives the public aid rate.

That figure does not include what it cost to guard Brown, a task that several local police departments shared.

"In the normal scheme, we staff that ourselves with corrections or law enforcement, frequently on overtime. In this case, the other agencies volunteered to help us. We had Illinois State Police, University of Illinois, Urbana, Champaign and us all taking turns. We do not have to reimburse those agencies for expenses or overtime, which would have been huge. I think they realized at the point we took custody, it is a huge time and financial burden," Walsh said.

Records kept by Walsh indicated that officers from the five departments spent 579 man-hours guarding Brown. The bulk of that time — 280 hours — was provided by correctional officers from the jail, who earn anywhere from $20 to $28 an hour.

Comments

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tattoo58 wrote on December 22, 2012 at 9:12 am

Nice. They should have killed him.

cretis16 wrote on December 22, 2012 at 11:12 am

Naw..if they killed him, he wouldn't be able to call these local lawsuit lawyers and collect.

mark taylor's ghost wrote on December 24, 2012 at 9:12 am

YEAH!!!!!!!!!!

KILL HIM GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!

We need more killing of people by the police on the spot. That's what we want to encourage.

KILL KILL KILL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Merry Christmas, everyone.

rsp wrote on December 24, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Save on judges and juries? Merry Christmas Mark.

sameeker wrote on December 22, 2012 at 10:12 am

Where are the complaints about government workers making $20 - $28 an hour?

mikeberry wrote on December 22, 2012 at 10:12 am

I agree, they shoud have shot to kill. 

EL YATIRI wrote on December 22, 2012 at 11:12 am
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They were shooting to kill for sure, but were unsuccessful.  

mark taylor's ghost wrote on December 24, 2012 at 9:12 am

THAT'S RIGHT!!!!!!!!

KILL HIM DEAD!!!! KILL HIM GOOD!!!!! KILL HIM FAST!!!!!!!!!!

DEATH!!! KILL!!!! KILL!!! KIIIIIILLL HIIIIMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!

YEAH!!!!!!!!

welive wrote on December 22, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Just keep counting the money wasted on this case will be 5 times the cuurent cost.

Just think if he gets 20 years thats only a cool $560,000.00 .go team justice

 

whatithink wrote on December 22, 2012 at 2:12 pm

If they would have killed him, his family would sue for much more money.

Sad to think honest working people loose everything to pay medical bills, and trash like this will probably end up with a payout for getting shot(cause I'm sure he didn't deserve it and was cooperative) and a small probation sentence.

Sid Saltfork wrote on December 22, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Thank goodness, they did not shoot his dog also.

mark taylor's ghost wrote on December 24, 2012 at 9:12 am

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHHA.

Jokes about killing suspects and their little dogs too are SOOOOOOOOOOO funny. And perfectly appropriate from the self appointed comment cop.

serf wrote on December 24, 2012 at 10:12 am

I thought it was funny.

 

mark taylor's ghost wrote on December 24, 2012 at 10:12 am

I know, right? Jokes about killing people and animals are always funny.

And since it comes from our very own comment cop, who just recently declared comments about killing people inappropriate because of the time frame, we know it totally totally appropriate.

Merry Christmas.

Sid Saltfork wrote on December 24, 2012 at 10:12 am

Merry Christmas, Mark.

rsp wrote on December 24, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Merry Christmas, Sid.

Sid Saltfork wrote on December 24, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Merry Christmas, to you and your family, rsp.  Peace be with you. 

serf wrote on December 25, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Merry Christmas to all!

 

(The funny part was the reference to animals.  Animal talk always gets the PETA crew riled up beyond belief).

rsp wrote on December 24, 2012 at 2:12 pm

How come nobody's suggested a guard for the dog park? Just think of the mayhem that could go on out there.

bmwest wrote on December 22, 2012 at 3:12 pm
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Under what law is the county on the hook for medical costs that would have incurred whether or not he was under arrest?  We really need to get that law changed.  Honestly, handcuffing his arms and legs to the bed, leaving a key with the attending physician for emergencies, having an officer present for non-emergencies when the cuffs are removed, and disallowing visitors would have probably sufficed instead of a 24x7 guard.

rsp wrote on December 22, 2012 at 3:12 pm

And if he decided to fight with the staff? Who do you think pays for the medical care at the jail? in the prisons? Once he was arrested he was in custody. It doesn't matter where he was. He wasn't in the custody of the hospital. And what if the hospital lost the key? The doctor went home with it in his pocket? And...who does he know that might already work at the hospital....

bmwest wrote on December 22, 2012 at 9:12 pm
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That's why I suggested he be cuffed to the bed to prevent him from fighting with the staff.  I'd argue that emergency and long-term care costs for those at the jail should be paid as they are outside of jail, likely "community care" or Medicaid.  I'm not sure why it's the County's responsibility to fund healthcare unless they caused the injury plus existing programs are much better suited and funded for this purpose.  And, if it is the County's responsibility, then why isn't it the responsibility of the city in which the crime was committed?  Why do they get off with free jailing and health services?  Under this existing situation, they'd have to pay the costs if they ran their own jail.  Think of the huge blow to a tiny town's budget if a severe illness befell one of their inmates!

It's true that he wasn't under arrest by the hospital but the hospital would have continued to treat him if he were arrested or not.  If I'm an innocent victim of bodily injury, I'm going to get a minimum level of treatment regardless of my ability to pay.  That should be the case regardless of criminal status.  He's there for treatment so treat him.  Once he's well enough to be released, release him (to the cops).  Treatment costs should be covered however they would have been had he just been released to go home and not dependent on who he's released to.

Perhaps leaving a key isn't even necessary.  I imagine some of the tools at the hospital could handle cuff removal if needed.  I'd also imagine the hospitals have their own restraint systems available for violent or mentally ill patients.  Other options would be remote monitoring via webcam and/or ankle bracelets.  I'm just throwing out ideas and it could be any combination of these or others.  And, of course, the 24x7 monitoring and the healthcare funding source can be addressed independent of each other so even if changing one isn't feasible, the other one could still be considered.

rsp wrote on December 23, 2012 at 12:12 am

The cities pay something to the county to house their inmates. Just like if the jail was overcrowded and they sent someone to another jail they pay for them to stay at that other jail. Anyone who is incarcerated is by law ineligible for medicaid but the county has negotiated the same rates for the prisoners. They probably pay faster too. The "community care" programs are ran by the hospitals themselves with their own funds. One has to apply, usually after one has received care. Not everyone gets it and it can be anything from a full grant to a reduction in cost to a denial. 

Regarding his medical care itself. You cannot legally chain a person to a bed for hours let alone days so you don't have to have a guard there. It's a violation of the constitution. He was arrested when he was because he could move around. They were concerned about him leaving and finishing what he started. They didn't want that to happen. Maybe if we had a medical area in the jail it would be different but there isn't. And I don't think the local hospitals are jumping at the chance to take on the liability of inmates.

The truth is he probably didn't have the money to pay for his medical anyway. So you're still paying it no matter where it's coming from.

bmwest wrote on December 24, 2012 at 1:12 pm
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Do you happen to know if the cities pay the full cost to the county to house their inmates or if the payment includes pre- and post-conviction costs?  I'm not sure it matters that much here but you seem to be more knowledgable on this topic than I am and raised my curiosity.

Apparently, a 1997 federal rule now allows for states to cover inmates' medical costs under Medicaid and it sounds like the state just needs to change its eligibility rules.  For "community care", the hospital would bill the person for the care and, if they couldn't pay it, it would go to collections.  Since they're incarcerated and have no income, I'd suspect that the hospital would write it off as they would for treatment they're obligated to provide to other uninsured low income or homeless people.  I'm not sure how the County becomes financially obligated just because they dropped off, stay with, and leave with the patient similar to a friend accompanying someone to the ER doesn't wind up responsible for the medical bills.  That's between the patient and the hospital.  The other option to avoid the medical costs in this case would have been to have the onsite guard but not serve the arrest warrant until he was released by the hopsital.

I agree that this is just shifting the cost to the hospital or Medicaid (and, therefore, indirectly on to County residents) but those are entities better suited to absorbing these costs as part of normal operations (as opposed to a potentially huge blow to a small county's budget due to major illness) because they're designed specifically to provide healthcare for the low income.

It may be that an onsite guard is required but I'd also think some creative planning could come up with some mix of technology, sedatives, and/or rotation on and off physical restraints like the ones used on mentally ill or suicidal people would at least reduce the amount of onsite guarding required.  Maybe 12 hours in restraints (with remote webcam monitoring), 12 hours out (with onsite guard) which would cut the guard-hours in half.  I can't speak to the constitutionality of hospital or inmate restraints and couldn't find much in a quick search but, if you know of any good sources to read up on it, I'd love to learn more!

Merry Christmas!

Son of a Barrelmaker wrote on December 27, 2012 at 4:12 am

I don't believe County deputies shot him, I believe it was City of Champaign police who shot him.

Sid Saltfork wrote on December 27, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Your right; but facts are wasted on Aggie.  He will spin it to something else.  It will end up being "the libs" fault based on his view.  

Aggie; ( pais: French; pays: English )

LeslieM wrote on December 29, 2012 at 2:12 am

ok so why is it the taxpayers that have to pay for this criminal's hospital bills? Considering the fact that he broke into someone's house and was threating to kill someone and got shot in the process shouldn't he be liabale to pay that money? This is a bunch of crap. Next thing you know he goes to court and gets let off the charges then sues that state for shooting him to. This is why there is so much crime because criminals know that no matter what they do they are going to get a slap on the hand and the state and government will take care of them. Our society is jacked and something needs to be done about. Harder punishment for crimes such as this.