Legislator Lorigo requests County officials work together to solve inmate healthcare copay problem

The Erie County Legislature’s Majority Leader, Joseph C. Lorigo, sent a letter to the County Attorney requesting a Home Rule Request be drafted and sent to the New York State Legislature that would grant Erie County the right to charge inmates in the county’s correctional facility and holding center a copay for medical care they receive. Majority Leader Lorigo is frustrated with New York State’s slow response and is requesting Erie County officials and State leaders work together in support of State legislation that would allow Erie County to create a policy to collect copays and save taxpayer money.


“This issue is currently at a stalemate in the State Legislature with members of the Assembly prohibiting legislation to create a state-wide policy. The Home Rule Request would give Erie County the ability to collect copays from inmates. Right now we are seeing a battle between upstate and downstate counties over this issue and Erie County taxpayers are suffering,” said Majority Leader Lorigo. “Providing healthcare to inmates free of charge is a significant waste of local taxpayer dollars year after year. If inmates can restock their accounts to purchase candy at the commissary, they should also be able to pay a simple healthcare copay like every other citizen. Here in Erie County officials are working together to fix this problem.”


Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw’s Office recently completed an audit detailing the county’s total cost for providing inmates healthcare in the correctional facility and holding center. The audit found that more than $24 million was spent by taxpayers providing medical services that included prescription drugs, hospitalization, transportation, surgery, testing and mental health evaluations.


If the State Legislature approves the Home Rule Request, the county could implement a local policy to collect copays and save taxpayer money.


“Our first step in Erie County is to show solidarity and work together to draft this legislation.  Once we do that, we can truly begin to change the tide on this issue. I believe everyone agrees that the individuals receiving the care should be held financially responsible, if possible,” Legislator Lorigo added. 


For information or assistance, please contact Legislator Lorigo’s Legislative Office at (716) 858-8922 or email joseph.lorigo@erie.gov

Legislator Lorigo



Phone: (716) 858-8922
Fax: (716) 858-8818

Legislator Joseph C. Lorigo - District 10
Old Erie County Hall
92 Franklin Street, 4th Floor
Buffalo, NY 14202