SANTA ANA (AP) — Inmates at a Southern California jail must now pay $3 to see a nurse.
The Orange County Sheriff's Department says inmates will begin paying the fee next year when they seek medical attention.
The copay-type charge is designed to curb frivolous visits that can tie up deputies and medical staff.
The $3 fee will be deducted from inmate commissary accounts used to purchase such items as toothbrushes and snacks. If there's no money in the account, they get free medical attention.
Health care demands have been soaring at the three county jails housing 6,600 inmates.
The Orange County Register says there have been more than 260,000 inmate requests for medical attention this year, up from 190,000 five years ago.
The Board of Supervisors approved the fee last week.