In the News

A medication-assisted treatment program in the Philadelphia’s Riverside Correctional Facility, the city’s prison for women, is being recognized for helping to protect women from heroin overdoses when they are released.

On Monday, August 6, 2018, stories in The Inquirer and on WHYY, Philadelphia’s public broadcasting station, highlighted the jail’s MAT program, which provides patients with a low dose of an opioid-based medication to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms and maintain a minimum tolerance so they don’t overdose should they return to using heroin upon release.

Dr. Jon Lepley, Corizon Health’s Chief Medical Officer for the facility, pioneered the program in partnership with the City of Philadelphia’s Prison Department, after learning about patients who overdosed and died soon after leaving jail.

The program piggybacks on an effort to provide the overdose-reversing drug naloxone to inmates as they leave the facility.

You can read more about the program and Dr. Lepley at this link.

Much attention has been given an Arizona Magistrate Judge’s order finding the Arizona Department of Corrections in contempt over the quality of inmate healthcare in Arizona. As our CEO Steve Rector pointed out in a statement issued following the order, the ruling disregards the progress that has been made in meeting and exceeding the required 85 percent compliance minimum with 849 quality measurements contained in a legal settlement agreement between the ACLU and other and the State of Arizona. Corizon Health and the ADOC currently are exceeding minimum compliance on 90 percent or more of those 849 measures. To understand why then that the judge – on his last day on the bench – took this action, a motion filed by the state in February sheds light on the lack of impartiality that dominated this case. Hopefully, the state – and more importantly, the taxpayers – are spared the cost of the fines imposed and, moving forward, benefit from a fair and impartial judge. A link to the motion is embedded below.

2641 - DEFS MOT to Disqualify Magistrate Judge Duncan

Corizon Health CEO Steve Rector offered the following statement in response to Federal Judge Magistrate David K. Duncan’s court order issued earlier today:

“Today’s ruling by Federal Magistrate Duncan against the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) unfortunately fails to recognize the progress and improvement that is and has been the reality of inmate health care since the ADC engaged in a settlement with ACLU plaintiffs in 2014.

As the healthcare provider chosen after the plaintiff’s lawsuit was initiated, Corizon Health has worked diligently with the ADC to increase and meet compliance with the 849 measurements contained in the law suit settlement. That progress now reflects exceeding minimum compliance rates on 90 percent or more of the measures. With an average of more than 4,100 patient encounters a day, Corizon Health is successfully providing an exceptional level of health care to Arizona’s prison population.

This ruling, combined with the loss of millions in taxpayer dollars that will be paid to American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) attorneys, negatively impacts critical funds needed to meet the requirements of the settlement and it also demonstrates ACLU’s higher regard for pursuing their stated public policy objective of reducing inmate populations. This legal battle unfortunately also underlines why incarceration policy is best made under the direction of Arizona’s elected policy leaders, the Governor and state legislature and not in courtrooms.

Make no mistake, be it Corizon or any other private healthcare provider, the ACLU will attack the mere existence of private healthcare providers in our prison system and its levels of incarceration, regardless of any accomplishments by a provider.

This charade by the ACLU is sad for the taxpayers of Arizona and for the inmate population we serve. Though Corizon Health was not a party to this suit, we will continue to work closely with ADC to provide Arizona’s inmate population with the best care in what is often difficult circumstances. We are hopeful the State of Arizona will choose to appeal the Court’s decision and we look forward to continuing to work constructively in supporting the ADC’s and Corizon Health’s steadfast improvement in the delivery of health care.”

As sourced by the Arizona Department of Corrections

Corizon Health and our Arizona Department of Corrections partner have surpassed minimum compliance scores on more than 90 percent of the measures monitored under a court settlement agreement for at least the past six months. Motions have been pending for several months for the court to remove hundreds of the measures from monitoring due to 24 months of consistently exceeding required scores.

The settlement agreement was the result of a class action lawsuit filed by the ACLU and others against the Arizona Department of Corrections in 2012, three years before Corizon was asked to take over providing healthcare services in Arizona prisons. Corizon is not a defendant in the lawsuit and did not participate in the settlement agreement that was worked out between the ACLU and the state. It identified almost 900 clinical measures to be audited monthly by state compliance monitors. The goal of the settlement is to reach and maintain for 24 months an 85 percent compliance threshold for each measure to meet the terms of the settlement agreement. Less than 10 percent of the total measurements remain to be brought to a consistent 85 percent compliance level.

Our dedicated team of healthcare providers in Arizona is working tirelessly to resolve challenges that create barriers to care and deliver a constitutionally sound healthcare program, grounded in evidence-based medicine. These doctors and nurses, many of whom view their practice as their mission in life, work in one of the most challenging environments to deliver care to one of the sickest and most under-served populations in our society. Many of our patients enter incarceration with multiple chronic disease issues and having had little, if any, access to healthcare. We understand the importance of returning these patients to health so they may successfully reenter society. We’re proud of our team and the gains they have made to improve the quality of Arizona’s prison health program.

Corizon Health has long recognized the unique needs of our patients who served in the military and the high-rate of PTSD among that population. Through our partnership with the Missouri Department of Corrections, A veterans dorm established at the Moberly Correctional Center has had such promising outcomes that such housing is being established at Potosi Correctional Center, Algoa Correctional Center and Boonville Correction Center. Thanks to Correctional News magazine, you can read more about Missouri’s Veteran Dorm Program here. Special recognition to MDOC’s Functional Unit Manager of the Moberly veterans dorm Amanda Lake, MDOC’s Deputy Director of the Division of Adult Institutions Alan Earls, and Corizon’s own Institutional Chief of Mental Health Services at Moberly Patricia Cahill. The commitment they have to helping these veterans successfully return to society shines through in their work.

Dr. Pete Powell is Corizon Health’s new Chief Medical Officer. Corizon CEO Steve Rector said he brought Dr. Powell on board because of his experience leading complex, multi-state healthcare systems.

A primary focus of Dr. Powell is leading company-wide adoption of an integrated patient care model. Integrated care requires the coordination of physical health, mental health and substance abuse services. It’s perfect for the inmate population because there is such a high rate of co-morbid conditions. For example, a patient with a mental illness who has developed an addiction and suffers from diabetes and heart disease.

Dr. Powell comes to Corizon from Community Health Systems, a leading operator of general acute care hospitals and outpatient services. At CHS he oversaw 14,000 employees and 4,000 clinicians, spanning 1,100 sites in 21 states. Just the type of experience Corizon needs to provide medical leadership to our vast network of employees and facilities.

In November, St. Lucie County Jail, Florida Health Services Administrator Deborah Beltzer-Harper gave a Professional Day presentation to nursing students in the LPN program at the Indian River State College, inspiring one aspiring nurse to consider a career with Corizon Health. In an email thanking Debbie for her presentation, the student wrote: Continue reading

(L-R) Dental Hygienist Gail Russell, LPN Brandy Kalvig, Dental Assistant Emily Williams, LPN Crystalyn Selsor, LPN Kayce Jines, RN Kalley Campbell, Med Tech Abbie Lear-Boland, AA Catie Murry, RN Katie Starks, LPN Linda Wiley, LPN Suzanne Hunter, RN Jody James, RN/DON Dawn Neff, Site Medical Director Dr. Michael Whitlock, LPN Karma Niemeyer, Medical Records Clerk Sandra Sheppard, RN Pam Brundage, Medical Records Clerk Monica Hunter

Eighteen VPO coins were presented to staff members of the Northeast Correctional Center in Missouri for their professionalism in the face of a correctional officer stabbing and the chaos that ensued. NECC Administrators attended the ceremony where the Warden expressed gratitude and appreciation for our staff’s response, poise and expertise.

(L-R) DON Michelle Willis, Assistant Warden Ben Brooks, RN Shelley Dilley, LPN Jessica Johnson, LT Moore, Deputy Warden Courtney Schweder

The Missouri Department of Corrections presented two Corizon Health nurses with the Lifesaver Award after being nominated by custody staff for their quick response, fast action and calm demeanor in assisting a patient who was choking. On March 12, 2017, a patient in the Transitional Care Unit at the Crossroads Correctional Center in Cameron began choking on his morning meal. Upon entering the room, Corizon Health Nurse Shelly Dilley, RN, noted the patient’s lips were blue and he was unable to speak. She immediately began administering the Heimlich maneuver and asked an officer to call for Corizon Health Nurse Jessica Johnson, LPN. After multiple attempts to dislodge the blockage, the patient became unresponsive. Manual removal and suctioning was used to remove three pieces of pancake that were blocking the patient’s airway and he began to breathe and become alert. Continue reading

A doctor who launched a Vivitrol program for parole violators at a Michigan women’s prison and a Tennessee clinician who is working to open the first of its kind Opioid Addiction and Co-occurring Unit in the nation are the recipients of Corizon Health’s 3rd Quarter SMART Employee Awards. Continue reading