MILWAUKEE – An audit of the contract for medical services at the County Jail and House of Corrections (HOC) reveals persistent understaffing and makes several recommendations to improve the provision of health care services at both county facilities.
The Audit Division conducted a review of the contract with Armor Correctional Medical Services at the request of County Board Chairman Theodore Lipscomb, Sr.
“The audit confirms what many already suspected, some of the most serious staffing issues that originally led the court to order this contract still persist. The election of a new Sheriff provides a fresh perspective and the opportunity to rethink oversight of medical services, and the audit also identifies various improvements that should be made,” said Lipscomb.
During the review period of November 2015 to August 2017, auditors found that staffing levels for medical staff never achieved the minimum 95% threshold required for full payment, and recommended consideration of additional penalties for Armor if staffing levels are not met.
As a result of a class action lawsuit over jail conditions, a 2001 court-approved Consent Decree set specific staffing levels in order to provide reasonably necessary health care to inmates.
The audit noted that Armor relied heavily on staffing agencies to fill vacant positions, and called for an analysis of the impact that reliance on agency staff has on the quality of care.
In addition to improved staffing levels, auditors recommended the assignment of a contract manager with clinical expertise to oversee the implementation of the contract.
Auditors made a total of 18 specific recommendations for improving the contract for jail medical services and for improving compliance with all provisions of the contract.
Chairman Lipscomb has referred the audit to the Committee on Finance and Audit and the Committee on Judiciary, Safety, and General Services for further review.