County Jail Health Care Gets Accredited

The jail received a perfect score on 35 different standards despite an overdose death at the jail in 2003.

Dr. Allen Winston and his medical staff at the Leon County Jail see up to 150 patients a day. The family practitioner says except for detox and gunshot wounds, he treats inmates for the same ailments that plague the rest of us.

Wednesday afternoon, Prison Health Services, the private company which runs the jail's clinic and infirmary, announced accreditation from the National Commission on Correctional Healthcare.

It's one of just 21 jails in the state to get it.

Rod Holliman of Prison Health Services, Inc. says, "When they come in, they'll look at all 35 standards and we'll have to have documentation from actual patient records as to how we do that and it's pulled at random so it can't be staged."

The accreditation comes despite the death of inmate Ruth Hubbs in May of 2003. An autopsy report says she died of an anti-depressant overdose. Her family's wrongful death lawsuit against PHS is still pending in federal court.

PHS has a three-year, $3.5 million contract to provide medical services at the jail. According to the sheriff, that contract required accreditation for renewal. That certificate is now on the wall and the contract is up for renewal in October.

The accreditation is essentially a third party checkup to make sure inmates have access to quality care and that records are carefully kept. It must be renewed every three years.