WSAV audit of jail medical care reveals new issues

“A focused site review ” is being conducted inside the Chatham County Jail this week. Accreditors from the Medical Association of Georgia put the detention center on probation over its medical care. This week’s visit will be the basis for their final decision. Corizon Correctional Healthcare is the company with the jail contract. We’ve been investigating conditions in the jail for more than a year — and our own audit of medical care provided by in the jail turned up several missing pieces. For fifteen months — WSAV News 3 has pored through thousands of e-mails, policies and other documents, countless interviews with sources and audited Corizon personnel records in the ten months after Mathew Ajibade died in custody last year.

We found an entire week last summer when no medical doctor logged any hours on site. For most of the last summer — the chief medical doctor, and the only doctor on site at the time, specialized in obstetrics and gynecology. A Tampa-based pediatrician also put in twelve hours on site one week. For four of the ten months, we audited in 2015 — the records show no psychiatrist ever set foot on site. Another six months of Corizon records list the on-site psychiatrist simply as “Anthony.” Corizon refused to further identify “Anthony” the only other medical professionals with drug prescribing abilities were nurse practitioners. But for two of the three — Georgia composite medical board records show their nurse protocol agreements had been terminated. Yet Corizon records provided to news three show both continued logging hours *after* their state protocols were terminated. Again — Corizon refused to answer how prescriptions were being filled under those circumstances.

“You have to be very careful with contractors… the contractor is working for profit.” said Tom Gilberg, a former jail administrator. Gilberg is the former jail administrator who’s breaking his silence since retiring in the wake of the Mathew Ajibade investigation last spring. we identified e-mails showing Gilberg trying to resolve issues between in-house counselors he says were pushed aside after Corizon expanded its contract with the county to include mental health, “it doesn’t take a brain to know two people cannot do nine people’s jobs.”

Since 2013 — the Chatham County Detention Center’s mortality rate has outpaced the national average recorded in jails every year and with one death already in 2016 — is on pace to do so again this year. During each of those years — Chatham county taxpayers have paid roughly five million dollars to Corizon Correctional Healthcare to provide medical care at the detention center. We shared our findings with county leaders — including the Commission chair — the County Manager — and interim Sheriff Roy Harris and asked how Corizon was being held accountable.

We have not received any replies. We have been told, however, the contract for healthcare services is currently open for bid.

 

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