Recently, in a Montgomery County Jail, David Courtney died while under the care of the private medical corporation Correct Care Recovery Solutions. Correct Care was formerly known as GEO Care, an o
Following the death of David Courtney in December, the Texas County Commission on Jail Standards ruled that the Montgomery County facility was out of compliance. Courtney had been complaining about his health since September but was not seen by a doctor until October 31. Although Courtney was found to have died of natural causes due to complications with AIDS, the Texas County Commission on Jail Standards determined that the facility failed to administer care in a timely manner. Since then, the facility has moved to increase staffing by hiring six additional nurses and extending the doctor’s weekly hours in order to address “a personnel shortage.” In addition, officials will be monitoring medical grievances weekly and making attempts to improve the facilities current record keeping protocols. Currently, Correct Care is facing scrutiny and litigation in two other death cases; one in a Kansas facility and another in Colorado.
In a previous blog post, we outlined the spotted history of GEO Care, now Correct Care Recovery Solutions, and highlighted the various issues as expressed by a group of concerned mental health advocates and stakeholders if this tentative award came to fruition. These concerns included lack of transparency and stakeholder input in the contracting process, significant cuts to staffing, and overall inability to provide adequate care to individuals needing mental health services in Texas. While these advocacy groups failed to receive a response from the Health and Human Services Commission, the entity who released the Request for Proposals (RFP) to privatize TSH, the negotiation process at present has come to a halt. This is largely due to the fact that a number of recent investigations have been launched to examine Texas Health and Human Services Commission contracting processes. These investigations conducted by the State Auditor’s office were initiated by State Senator John Nichols and Senator John Whitmire. Nichols requested an examination of the TSH contract and also questioned whether or not HHSC could privatize state hospitals without legislative approval. State Senator John Whitmire on the other hand also called for HHSC Chief Kyle Janek’s resignation over violating state bidding rules for a $110 million contract.
Interestingly, a number of individuals seem to be publically chiming in on this controversial issue. This list includes city council members, Terrell Economic Development Corporation, Texas Association of Business, and Coalition of Texans With Disabilities. Nevertheless, the combination of suspect contracting policies and Correct Care Solutions problematic track record seems to cast a shadow of doubt on Texas’ attempt to further privatize the State Hospital system.