Jason Millsaps, chief of staff for County Judge Mark Keough, said the program verifies the eligibility of a patient for the coronavirus vaccine, gathers their medical information, sets the patient on a waitlist and assigns appointments based on their information as allotments come from the state. The data is then sent to the state multiple times per day.
"Right now, for every day our sites are open, our partners are spending three to four days documenting and going through the paperwork," Millsaps said. "It is slowing down operations. We are required to do it in 24 hours, and we are not hitting that mark because it is a gargantuan task."
Millsaps said the cost will be through the remainder of the fiscal year based on the county doing 21,500 vaccinations per month. According to Millsaps, the county is currently vaccinating around half that number, but the number is anticipated to ramp up as more allocations are provided from the state.
The program was originally proposed to be reimbursed through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, though Commissioners James Noack and Charlie Riley said they were opposed, as the county has reclassified over $50 million in federal funds to county funds.
"To me, it feels dirty to go back and say we are going to send the same money you sent us back you are going to reimburse us again," Noack said. "It looks like we are going to double dip from the feds."
County Budget Officer Amanda Carter noted the funding that would be reimbursed from FEMA is different than the funding received for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act in 2020.
The Commissioners Court unanimously approved to fund the program from county funds, which will be amended in the county's budget at the next Commissioners Court meeting Feb. 23.