A lawsuit against prison health provider Correct Care Solutions and Omaha’s Douglas County Jail alleges negligence and malpractice on behalf of 13 inmates, at least one whom died due to lack of treatment.
That inmate had just been released from the facility, and he barely made it out of the cab taking him to a relative’s home from the jail before collapsing. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital, where a doctor diagnosed him with advanced lung cancer. During his incarceration, he had complained about not feeling well and lost an astonishing 64 pounds on his 6-foot frame. He died just 10 days after his release.
Now Known as Wellpath
Tennessee-based Correct Care Solutions recently merged with Correctional Medical Group Companies, and the company now calls itself Wellpath, apparently with no trace of irony. The new name certainly sounds benign and friendly, but Correct Care’s history is anything but that.
As of 2017, the company has been sued at least 140 times and blamed for at least six deaths, and that’s just since 2005. Correct Care had contracts with over 100 federal and state prisons and more than 300 jails, although many of these entities have canceled or refused to renew contracts with this provider. However, the merger will make Wellpath the biggest player in the prison healthcare industry, according to Bloomberg News.
The deal involved a risky, highly leveraged $610 million loan for its buyout by a Miami-based private equity firm, HIG Capital LLC. A representative from the nonprofit Corrections Accountability Project, which opposes privatization of healthcare in the criminal justice system, told Bloomberg News that as with all monopoly concerns, “the bigger these companies get, the more problematic they become, because they’re serving a captive market, literally.”
Odds are the already large number of lawsuits against Correct Care Solutions will continue under Wellpath.
The Douglas County Lawsuit
Consider the Douglas County lawsuit as just a microcosm of the lack of care virtually synonymous with Correct Care. Besides the inmate whose complaints of pain and drastic weight loss were ignored, the allegations include that one inmate, Edward Leza, 64, was known to suffer from Bell’s palsy, a condition that causes paralysis on one side of the face.
Correct Care refused to test or treat him for Bell’s palsy, but even worse, it refused to test for stroke, which can also cause this type of paralysis. Leza was later transferred to a jail in Wisconsin, where he was almost immediately diagnosed as a stroke patient. The doctor at the Wisconsin jail – not a Correct Care facility - estimated Leza had gone without treatment for his condition for several months.
A 26-year-old inmate broke his hip at the Douglas County Jail after a fight with another inmate. The inmate alleges the Correct Care staff told him a doctor would not see him unless he was bleeding or “a bone was sticking out.” For three weeks, he was unable to walk and get to the bathroom, frequently soiling himself. A guard took pity on him and provided him with a cane.
It wasn’t until three weeks after the break that Correct Care finally permitted him to have an X-ray, and the fracture was revealed. Doctors now say he will need several hip replacement surgeries over the remainder of his life.
Another inmate suspected he had a sexually transmitted disease, as he was experiencing painful urination. Rather than test him, Correct Care staff simply told him to drink more water. This made the problem worse, since he had to urinate more often. He received no treatment for six months until sent to another Nebraska facility after sentencing.
There, it was promptly discovered he had chlamydia, which is easily treatable with antibiotics. He suffered for all those months with a condition that was simple to treat. Appalling is too kind a word, but it’s a more appropriate term than Wellpath.
Were you or a family member denied medical care in jail resulting in serious injury or death? We can help expose the wrongdoers and file a federal lawsuit against everyone involved for compensation and to make sure it doesn’t happen to another victim. CALL 866.836.4684 or Connect Online for a no-cost legal consult to learn your rights.