Washington County Jail Healthcare Audit

For Immediate Release: Monday, November 24, 2014

Sponsored by: Auditor's Office

Washington County Auditor John Hutzler today released his audit of healthcare in the Washington County Jail. Since opening the jail on Adams St. in Hillsboro in 1998, the County has repeatedly contracted with Corizon Health, formerly Prison Health Services, to provide healthcare to jail inmates. Although the Sheriff operates the Jail, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) managed the contracts. After experiencing significant overruns in the jail healthcare budget, the County Administrator suggested the County Auditor conduct an audit.

The Auditor found that HHS failed to adequately monitor Corizon's performance to ensure it met staffing commitments and provided quality healthcare. Contract administration was inadequate to ensure that Corizon implemented a quality assurance program or complied with jail healthcare standards, Oregon medical practice rules, minimum staffing requirements and other contract terms. The Auditor found that the contract administrator did not require Corizon to provide healthcare staff as specified in the contract.

The Auditor estimated the value of the minimum specified staffing that the County did not receive from FY2009 through FY2012 to be at least $350,000. Corizon provided fewer than the specified hours of the most highly qualified positions, often substituting less qualified and less highly paid staff, thereby increasing its profits at County expense.

Corizon's failure to provide minimum specified staffing may also have increased other County costs for inmate care. The Auditor found inmates were more often sent outside the jail for care when the jail physician and nurse practitioner provided fewer than the minimum specified hours. Higher than expected costs for such external services resulted in budget overruns in jail healthcare. Deputy time to transport inmates increased Sheriff's Office costs.

The Auditor made 30 recommendations to ensure quality of care, strengthen contract language, improve contract administration, control costs, avoid budget overruns, and ensure the Auditor's right to access contractor records. As recommended by the Auditor in an interim report, the County Administrator has already reassigned administration of the contract from HHS to the Finance Division, which has moved aggressively to implement many of the Auditor's recommendations. The County Administrator and the Sheriff agreed with 29 of the Auditor's recommendations and committed to implementing all but one of those by August 2015.

For more information, contact John Hutzler, County Auditor, at 503-846-8798. The audit is available on the County website at http://www.co.washington.or.us/CountyAuditor/audit-reports.cfm. The Auditor, the CAO and the Sheriff will brief the Board of County Commissioners on the audit report and the response on December 23, 2014.

Media Contact:

John Hutzler, County Auditor
(503) 846-8798
john_hutzler@co.washington.or.us