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MetroHealth Announce Expanded Plan for Health Care Services in County Jails

1/10/2019


MetroHealth Media Contact: Tina Shaerban Arundel, (440) 592-1334 or tarundel@metrohealth.org

Cuyahoga County Media Contact: Miranda Pomiecko, (216) 698-2546 or mpomiecko@cuyahogacounty.us


CLEVELAND — As part of the ongoing efforts to improve conditions in the Cuyahoga County jails, County Executive Armond Budish and MetroHealth President and CEO Dr. Akram Boutros have agreed to an expanded, comprehensive health care plan to be implemented in all of the County’s correctional facilities.

Following the deaths of inmates, the subsequent request by County Executive Armond Budish for the U.S. Marshals to inspect and report on conditions and the resulting report out that described unsafe conditions for both inmates and staff, MetroHealth has agreed to assume and substantially enhance all healthcare operations for all three Cuyahoga County jails. MetroHealth will transition the current healthcare operations into a comprehensive, fully staffed program inclusive of medical, dental, behavioral health and addiction services. Previously, the responsibility for healthcare operations was divided between the Cuyahoga County Safety Department and MetroHealth.

Operational enhancements under the agreement include: 
  • Providing services that meet the accreditation standards of the National Commission on Correctional Health Care  
  • Additional staffing levels in the areas of medical, behavioral and addiction services and pharmacy 
  • High quality medical staff recruitment and training  
  • Adherence to suicide triage and expanded mental health services  
  • Expanded Medically Assisted Treatment programming  
  • Development of a continuous quality improvement program  
  • Unified medical operations at the Euclid and Bedford jails  
  • Correctional Officers specifically assigned to the medical unit  
  • Development of performance-based metrics to track program outcomes 
A total of 32 additional staff members are expected to be added to the sites. The cost of the new initiative will be approximately $13.6 million, an annual increase of $5 million. Examples of critical success measures include health screenings for all inmates within 4 hours of arrival; medical/mental health/dental issues identified during screening will be promptly referred; patients at risk for addiction withdrawal will be identified and immediately addressed.

“I am very pleased to be able to announce this new agreement between the County and MetroHealth,” said Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish. “MetroHealth has long been an invaluable partner in our work throughout the County and in the jails. These inmates are in our care and deserve to be kept safe and healthy. This new, comprehensive program will be a model for the country.”

MetroHealth is committed to supporting Cuyahoga County to meet its obligation to inmates at the county facilities by providing a comprehensive health care operation in a shared accountability model.

“Our commitment to all Cuyahoga County citizens, including inmates compels us to address health care needs quickly and effectively,” said MetroHealth President and CEO, Akram Boutros, MD. “Our new shared accountability, enhanced services, and enhanced staffing means we can improve and, in some cases, save lives. That’s what we’re committed to doing.”

County Council has been actively engaged in addressing conditions at the jail.

“I believe this agreement is a critical step in beginning to solve our problems in the County jail and I very much appreciate the MetroHealth System’s willingness to step up and help us at this critical time,” said Council President Dan Brady.

“To have MetroHealth take over total control of the medical care at the County Jail has been a goal for many years,” said Councilman Michael Gallagher. “The council worked hard to get to this point and would like to thank Dr. Boutros for staying with us through some difficult times. I’d also like to thank the entire MetroHealth community and all the leaders throughout the hospital system in providing these much-needed services.”