Health care firm contracted for jail
Effective July 1, the Acadia Parish Police Jury and the Acadia Parish Sheriff will be out of the health care business when it comes to inmates at the parish jail.
By unanimous vote during a special meeting Wednesday night, jurors voted to enter into a one-year contract with CorrectHealth, a physician-owned and operated company that specializes in health care at correctional facilities.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, CorrectHealth was founded in 2000 by Dr. Carlo Musso, a Louisiana native and LSU graduate. The company has been servicing jails in Louisiana for 15 years and currently serves 12 state facilities with more than 6,000 inmates.
“Most of the jails we operate are comparable in size to the one you have here,” John Ritter, director of marketing and business development, told jurors Wednesday.
The single-year contract comes with a price tag of $261,770.98.
Pharmacy services will continue to be provided by Carmichael’s Cashway Pharmacy in Crowley.
The move to private health care at the jail was prompted by liability issues for the Sheriff’s Office.
Currently, the sheriff employs a pair of medics and their salaries are reimbursed by the police jury.
“But the liability is on us,” Sheriff K.P. Gibson explained. “And my insurance with the Sheriff’s Association will no longer cover it.”
Gibson told jurors that his policy is up for renewal on July 1 “and I’m going to tell them that, effective that date, I’m no longer responsible for inmates’ health care.”
The current system of providing those services was budgeted by the police jury at $232,000 for 2020.
Another “big” issue for Gibson was mental health services for the inmates.
Currently, none are regularly offered at the jail. CorrectHealth will provide mental health services.
Under the CorrectHealth plan, mental healthcare rendered at the jail will be “evidence-based” and will be representative of National Commission on Correctional Health Care standards.
In addition, during the intake process, the CorrectHealth staff will triage and identify patients with substance abuse dependence who are at risk for drug and alcohol withdrawal.
Patients who are in need of detoxification will be placed under the observation of qualified healthcare staff — typically in the infirmary — until detoxification is complete.
CorrectHealth, as did three other bidders in the process, offered both a 24/7 and a 12/7 proposal.
Gibson openly pushed for the 24/7 proposal, explaining that, during the 12 hours that no RN or LPN is at the jail, his personnel would be responsible for determining treatment or transportation to a hospital for the inmates.
However, jurors balked at the price of 24-hour coverage.
“I think 24/7 is not an option,” Jury President Chance Henry said. “I’d be open to putting an EMT in there for those 12 hours or, if we see the costs are reduced, move it up to 24 hours in the future.”
After the vote, Ritter said the company will have no problem getting ready to take over the health care services at the jail on July 1.
Gibson agreed to keep the current medics on payroll up to that date.
Once CorrectHealth takes over, the following services will be provided:
• Intake: a receiving screening will be performed on all inmates booked into the jail.
• Sick call and primary care services.
• Chronic Care Clinic.
• Mental Health / Psychiatric Services: The plan includes suicide prevention, intake screening, primary care, chronic disease management, medications, crisis intervention, individual and group treatment, treatment planning, discharge planning and community collaborations.
• Medication Services: The company agreed to utilize Carmichael’s Cashway Pharmacy.
• Communicable / Infectious Disease Management: Appropriately trained and qualified personnel will manage infectious disease and chronic care disease programs.
• Transfer screenings.
• Scheduled and unscheduled off-site services: CorrectHealth operates a state-of-the-art system that coordinates and tracks and validates specialty care, consultations, procedures and emergency room visits. Additionally, the company will be responsible for arranging all emergency and off-site visits, orders, records and discharge summaries.
• Ancillary Diagnostic Services: The company utilizes various diagnostic services to complete necessary functions.
• Staff Credentialing and Training: All team members who provide services to inmates will be appropriately credentialed and trained according to the licensure, certification and registration requirements of the company and the State of Louisiana.
• Continuous Quality Improvement: The company utilizes a continuous quality improvement and management program that meets and exceeds accreditation standards.
• Emergency Response, Drills and Management: The company will respond and assist in emergencies at the jail. Routine drills for emergency response and disaster plans will be conducted to meet accreditation standards.
• Health Education: The company provides health education to inmates, jail staff and healthcare staff.