Deputy jailers did not follow proper protocols before sending 10 prisoners out of the jail for medical treatment, a representative of the jail’s contracted health care company told the Clark County Fiscal Court Tuesday.
“You’ve actually had about 10 individuals that the staff did not follow protocols in the evening, that were submitted off-site and sent, not even sure if the doctor was called or not just because there was no protocol to follow this and the rationale behind it,” said Michael Coffey, an expense analyst for Advanced Correctional Healthcare. “So we’re trying to get all those people up to speed. But that’s an issue that you don’t want to send them off unless you contact the doctor.”
Coffey said the protocol requires a one-page form to be filled out documenting that a jail staff member called the on-call doctor, provided by Advanced, before sending an inmate off-site when there is not a medical professional on-site.
The situation was discovered during a review, Coffey said.
Clark County Jailer Bobby Stone defended his staff’s actions, saying there was not always time to follow the health care pre-approval system. In some cases, the severity of a situation may outweigh following protocol, he said.
“Protocol might not have been filled out, but in the hours of the night, somebody lying there having a heart attack, getting protocol out and writing what’s wrong, wouldn’t have made the outcome any different,” he said. “So that’s not a big issue in my opinion.”
Judge-Executive Henry Branham said following protocol is important because it ensures that the jail staff did everything Advanced requires them to do to ensure all liability falls on the company’s shoulders.
“We want to follow protocols. Maybe that person’s having a heart attack, maybe they’re not. I hate to be that straightforward,” he said to Stone. “They (jail staff) are not medically trained to make that decision, so I¿think we want them to follow the protocol and if Advanced comes in and does a check ... and says they’re not following protocols, then we want you to hold them responsible for that.”
Advanced took over this year from Southern Health Partners, which provided health care to prisoners for three previous years. The contract with Advanced automatically renewed Oct. 31, and the county can cancel it with 30-day notice, Branham said.
Coffey told commissioners of the protocol violations during a presentation following the contract renewal. James Kemper, a marketing representative for Southern, also gave a presentation to the county, and commissioners will decide whether to continue with Advanced or to go back to Southern at the next Fiscal Court meeting, Wednesday, Dec. 14.
In other business, Fiscal Court approved the first reading of a joint city/county ordinance to amend the privilege fee agreement. The Winchester Board of Commissioners approved first reading at its last meeting.
Contact Katie Perkowski at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter, @TheSunKatie.