Health care services in Cuyahoga County jails expanded following inmate deaths

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CUYAHOGA COUNTY, Ohio — Cuyahoga County and MetroHealth on Thursday announced an expanded plan for health care services in county jails.

Following the deaths of seven inmates, and the request by Cuyahoga 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,” a release states.

According to the release, MetroHealth will transition current health care operations into a  “comprehensive, fully staffed program inclusive of medical, dental, behavioral health and addiction services.”

Before Thursday’s announcement, the responsibility for health care 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

The release states a total of 32 additional staff members are expected to be added to the sites.

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, the release says.

**Continuing coverage**

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