MARCH 11, 2004 - Posted at 7:44 a.m. CDT
LITTLE ROCK, AR - State prison officials are considering charging inmates a minimal fee when the inmates ask to see doctors, a move the state hopes will deter frivolous medical requests from inmates.
Several states already charge fees for requested medical visits. Prison officials say a pilot program in Arkansas has proven successful.
A committee appointed by the state prison board to study the idea plans to make recommendations to the full board next month.
Under a pilot program, Arkansas charges a $3 co-payment to inmates in its short-term lock-ups. In the year since the pilot program began, sick calls among the inmates have dropped 48 percent.
Inmates who cannot afford a co-payment are not charged.