Mass. state prison health care scrutinized (Bay State Banner)

Below is an excerpt from an article in the Bay State Banner published on June 29. The article highlights VitalCore, the new contractor for health care services for the prison population, after years of inadequate services. Prisoners’ Legal Services’ Staff Attorney Ada Lin is quoted.

The Massachusetts Department of Corrections last month announced a new contractor to provide health care services in state prisons, as care and mortality in prisons has received increased scrutiny in recent years.

The contract, with Kansas-based VitalCore Health Strategies, comes as the DOC’s agreement with Wellpath, a Tennessee-based company, is set to expire this summer.

Wellpath, whose agreement goes to the end of this month, has faced concerns that it was failing to provide adequate care to individuals incarcerated in the state, with delayed or denied care, inadequate staffing and failure to following physician treatment plans.

Wellpath and YesCare, another company bidding for the new state contract, were the subject of a letter in February from U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey to the DOC. The politicians raised concerns about the two companies having been subject to congressional oversight and criticism because of record handling health care needs in jails and prisons across the country.

Limited access to care can have a distinct impact, especially on a prison population that trends older, said Ada Lin, a staff attorney at Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts.

Read more at the Bay State Banner.