County Wins Lawsuit Against Former Health Care Provider in Jail




The new wing of Pierce County Jail is seen in 2013. The county sued a former health care provider in jail, alleging poor quality of care.

Personnel file, 2013

A former prison health care provider accused of providing substandard care must pay Pierce County $ 1.56 million, a jury said Thursday.

The company, Conmed, sued Pierce County for withholding payment.

The county has filed a counterclaim alleging that the company’s shortcomings violated its contract.

Jurors agreed with the county.

“Conmed has not been able to fulfill his contract – hoping the government is not paying attention,” Assistant District Attorney Dan Hamilton said in a statement on Friday. – Well, Pierce County and the Sheriff’s Department were paying attention. We will not allow any business to increase its profits by shirking its obligations. “

Conmed provided medical and dental care at the prison from February 2014.

In August 2015, the county terminated the contract about four months after stopping payments. The county trial brief alleged that Conmed’s shortcomings included “inadequate staffing and scheduling of medical staff, lack of supervisory leadership, inability to provide inmates with access to care, medication errors, continuity of care, etc. ”

A spokesperson for Correct Care Solutions, which was Conmed’s parent company, did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The News Tribune on Friday.

Conmed wrote in his trial brief that the company sought “a simple remedy for the four months it spent using its own resources to staff and provide medical services to inmates at the jail while the county has withheld all payment to Conmed ”.

The county argued that Conmed’s inadequate staff and other failures put inmates at risk and the company had failed to address these issues.

“I think the jurors could see that the sheriff’s department was keeping a close watch on every step,” Deputy District Attorney Kristal Cowger said in a statement. “The sheriff’s staff saw that Conmed was breaking his promises, they knew it was wrong, and they didn’t let go. The Sheriff’s Department is committed to quality care for inmates and for taxpayers.

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Alexis Krell covers local, state and federal court cases that affect Pierce County. She started covering the courts in 2016. Prior to that, she wrote about crime and breaking news for almost four years as a night reporter for the News Tribune.



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