Jail health provider defends care to county commissioners

Jail health provider defends care to county  commissioners
July 13
05:00 2017

County also receives city request for drug court funding

Correct Care Solutions LLC defended the medical care it provides at the Forsyth County Detention Center to commissioners ahead of the vote today to renew its contract.

Correct Care has provided medical services at the jail for eight years. Its current contract runs out at the end of August and it was the only company to bid for the service. The $13.2 million three-year contract being considered would go from Sept. 1, 2017, to Aug. 31, 2020. It’ll be voted on during the commissioners meeting today at 2 p.m. in the Forsyth County Government Center. Correct Care has been a source of recent controversy after two local inmates died under the company’s care in May.

During the county briefing last week, Commissioner Everette Witherspoon once again said he will not vote to renew the contract because of concerns about inmate care and the numerous lawsuits against the company, which provides health services to 333 local detention facilities around the country.

“As county commissioners, we have a responsibility to do something,” he said.

Bill Kissel, Correct Care’s vice president of local detention, said that he’d have the same concerns if he was a commissioner.  He said Correct Care is not perfect, but does pursue perfection and quality patient care.

“Is every death looked at with a critical eye and a heavy heart? Yes, it is,” said Kissel. “Are we the best company in the country to provide health care? Yes, we are.”

Correct Care does a review of procedures after patient deaths and serious clinical events, he said. However, the corrective plan from the review is not made public and is protected by attorney-client privilege, to protect the company in lawsuits that may result from those incidents.

Kissel said he has met with local activists and that Correct Care is willing to hold community meetings to address the public’s concerns, though the company can’t discuss any specific deaths for legal reasons.

The county and state are doing their own reviews of the deaths that will be made public.

With Correct Care as the sole bidder, commissioners have little choice but to keep them as the medical provider for now, but they can bid the service again in hopes of finding another provider in the future.

Drug Court request

Also during last week’s briefing, Commissioner Don Martin asked for more information on a letter commissioners received from City Council Member James Taylor, who is also The Chronicle’s publisher, requesting the county match $35,000 the city has allocated to re-establish adult drug court, which existed from 1996 until 2011, when its funding was cut by state legislators. The court uses a series of sanctions and incentives to address drug abuse. The funds would go to a coordinator position and incentives. Judges, attorneys and drug treatment professionals plan to donate their time to the program. The nonprofit Phoenix Rising of Winston-Salem Inc. has already raised about $20,000 for the court.

Board of Commissioners Chairman Dave Plyler and Martin were interested in learning more and possibly hearing from Taylor or city staff about the effort, which they said might help with the opioid epidemic. Commissioner Gloria Whisenhunt was much more hesitant, saying the county can’t participate in everything, and that the county is already addressing the issue though programs like Stepping Up, which helps the mentally ill and substance abusers in the Detention Center.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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