Jackson County has hired one of the biggest providers of jail healthcare in the country to provide service at the downtown jail. However, the company has a history of being sued for poor care.
Over the past ten years, Advanced Correctional Healthcare (ACH) has been sued 108 times in 16 states, according to Justia.com which tracks federal cases online. Several of those lawsuits are in Missouri and Kansas.
A 2016 CBS News investigation uncovered six settlements ACH made with families "whose relatives died from preventable causes," according to the network.
"Just because someone may be named as a defendant in a lawsuit, does not make them guilty," ACH spokeswoman Jessica Young said in a statement emailed to KCUR. "We take criticisms of the care provided by our team seriously, but the number of lawsuits filed is not concerning. We care for over 33,000 patients."
ACH contracts with 55 jails in Missouri and 30 in Kansas, the company says. It has 300 contracts across the country.
The Jackson County Legislature, without discussion, unanimously approved the contract Monday (three members were absent). Lawmakers approved an initital payment of $1.8 million for the rest of this year; after that, the cost to the county will be $4 million per year over the three-year contract.
The county jail's previous healthcare provider, Correct Care Solutions, unexpectedly canceled its contract in April with two years remaining. Three companies bid for the new contract, and ACH was the lowest bidder by about $2 million.
ACH will take over on July 15. Correct Care Solutions will stay on through the 15th to help with the transition, according to county spokeswoman Marshanna Hester.
ACH provided care at the jail from 2008 to until 2012, when CCS won the bid. ACH says it has started recuiting workers and most will receieve a $1,000 signing bonus.