Sheriff's office gives unused medications to HealthNet
JANESVILLE Unused prescription drugs from the Rock County Jail soon will benefit low-income Rock County residents who don't have health insurance.
The new program is a collaborative effort between HealthNet of Rock County, the Rock County Sheriff's Office and Advanced Correctional Healthcare, which provides health care management at the Rock County Jail.
The logistics of how unused medications will be collected from the jail have not yet been determined, said Ryan Messinger, clinical operations director at HealthNet.
"It'll be great when it gets going," he said. "The more donations we can get, the more patients we can serve."
Andi Brown, registered nurse and nursing supervisor at the Rock County Jail, said the jail would be sending 2,794 pills to HealthNet this month.
"These meds were compiled over a period of approximately two months," she said.
Messinger said even if it's only a few bottles every couple weeks, "any little bit helps."
HealthNet's annual medications budget is $9,600, but it dispenses prescriptions—many donated by pharmaceutical companies—valued at more than $3 million a year.
"We're very optimistic, and the possibility is there to have a huge impact on our operating budget," Messinger said.
"Once we hit that $9,600, there's no more money for (buying) medications. So, any donations helps us stretch that dollar further," he said.
Sheriff's office leaders saw the value in donating the medications rather than disposing of them.
"Why not use those (unused medications) for the people who need them when they normally would be disposed of," Cmdr. Erik Chellevold said.
"Those in need that use the resources of HealthNet can put those medications to use," he said.
"This is just one of those examples where we saw we could make a difference by doing this and not letting the medications go to waste," he said.
Chellevold said the medications are left over from prescriptions for inmates.
"We're responsible for providing necessary medications to the inmate while incarcerated. Anything not released with the inmate would still be here," he said.
For example, if the jail buys a 30-day supply of medicine for an inmate that uses only 15 days, the remaining medication becomes property of the county, Chellevold explained.
HealthNet professionals will inspect, repackage and dispense the donated medications they can use and dispose of those that can't be used, Chellevold said.