Inflation in recent years hasn’t just shown up in the price of eggs – it’s also been hitting pretty hard when it comes to the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department’s bill for offering medical staff and care for inmates in the county’s two jails.

On Thursday, Sept. 7, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners is expected to enter into a new contract with WellPath LLC, the company that provides health services to inmates housed in the Guilford County jail in downtown Greensboro and the jail in downtown High Point – as well as in the county’s juvenile detention facility near Piedmont Triad International Airport.

The continuing service will cost  $8,374,022 this year, and new service add-ons will bump the healthcare cost for those held by the county to nearly $9 million a year.

Three-and-a-half years ago, in May of 2020, Guilford County government entered into a service contract that totaled just $4.7 million a year for WellPath to provide medical services for the county’s inmates. That contract went into effect on July 1, 2020, at a time before the recent years of rampant inflation, and before a much greater demand for medical personnel, due to the pandemic, hit the system.

As inflation grew, medical workers became harder to find, and in March of last year, in order to help Wellpath meet additional staffing needs and fund wage increases for its workers, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners approved a price increase on top of the pre-planned, contractually built-in price increases each year.

In addition, the care inmates have begun getting this year includes twelve months of a medication-assisted treatment program at an additional cost to the county of $260,000, and a new cost of $575,000 for a cap on catastrophic healthcare needs that may arise.

The cost of medical services for the juveniles is just under $500,000 a year.

Now the total for the medical contracts for the Sheriff’s Office and the Juvenile Detention Center will be $8,866,441 for the current fiscal year which will end on June 30, 2024.