Idaho scales back claim of problems at prison

Idaho scales back claim of problems at prison

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Idaho Department of Correction officials on Wednesday dramatically scaled back their assessment of problems encountered when they took over the running of the state's largest prison from Corrections Corporation of America this month.

IDOC division chief Shane Evans had told the state Board of Correction last week that the company failed to leave behind a promised eight-day supply of medication for inmates, and a health care provider had to ship $100,000 worth of medication overnight "just to get us to the minimum amount we were supposed to have on hand."

But in a follow-up meeting Wednesday, Evans said the cost of the missing drugs was actually only about $8,800 and there was only a verbal agreement that the medicines would be left behind.

Corrections Corporation of America spokesman Steve Owen didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday. But earlier this week, Owen cast doubt on IDOC's claims and said they were without merit, noting that the company's total monthly cost for inmate medications was below $100,000, and so IDOC's original figure didn't make sense.

IDOC declined to additional details Monday when The Associated Press asked for any evidence supporting the $100,000 figure.

During Wednesday's meeting, Corizon Vice President Tom Dolan said his company ordered about 4,000 units of medication - for a total cost of more than $80,000 - to stock the medication room at the Idaho State Correctional Center, but he said only about 10 percent of that total was to replace what they expected to have on hand. Corizon is IDOC's prison health care provider.

Dolan also said there was only a spoken "gentleman's agreement" between his company and the Corrections Corporation of America's health care provider that the week's supply of medications would be left behind. Because Corizon's contract with the state of Idaho leaves all risk in Corizon's hands, the state isn't out any money for medications - that cost came out of Corizon's budget.

Last week, IDOC officials also said that several medical records were missing and that some chronically ill patients went without needed medical care while the Corrections Corporation of America still operated the prison.

On Wednesday, Connie Smock with Corizon said that during the last few weeks, her employees were able to locate all but one of the missing medical charts. Smock said many of the charts were out of date because it didn't appear as if all medical files created since March had been filed yet, but she said Corizon expected to have all the filing completed by mid-August.

Smock also noted that the Corrections Corporation of America's medical care plan was different than Corizon's. When Corrections Corporation of America was managing the prison, chronic-care inmates were required to be seen every 180 days. Corizon's contract with Idaho requires the company to see chronically ill inmates every 90 days.

One inmate who had to be taken to the emergency room with a heart problem on July 7 didn't appear to have been seen by a doctor since February, she said. His heart medication also hadn't been refilled for seven months, Smock said.

"Right now we're getting caught up with sick call and chronic care within the clinics, and we're seeing the inmates as quick as we can. But we're not really seeing any emergent cases other than that one," Smock said.

IDOC officials said the department would try to recover from Corrections Corporation of America money lost in the takeover process. Those costs include about $8,400 to fix a phone system that IDOC said was supposed to be operational, about $3,300 to replace seven damaged shotguns and about $1,100 to replace a missing video module for a telehealth system that IDOC said was supposed to be left behind by the Corrections Corporation of America.