Milwaukee County to Move Inmate Healthcare In-house by 2021
Short-term Contract Provides a Bridge to In-house Provision of Healthcare at the Jail and House of Corrections
MILWAUKEE – Milwaukee County will start providing inmate medical services in April of 2021, after a two-year contract with a temporary provider, recommended for approval today by the Finance and Audit Committee (7-0), expires.
“We have a responsibility to ensure that people in the custody of Milwaukee County receive quality medical care. The best way to provide quality care, proper oversight, and accountability is to bring the provision of medical services at the Jail and House of Corrections in-house,” said County Board Chairman Theodore Lipscomb, Sr.
The Finance and Audit Committee rejected options for a 5-year contract and a one-year agreement with a new vendor, settling on a two-year, $39 million contract with Wellpath, LLC.
The Committee also recommended approval of a $373,000 contract with an independent, third-party medical monitor to provide oversite of the provision of care through Wellpath.
The Finance and Audit Committee adopted several amendments offered by Chairman Lipscomb, including a reaffirmation that Milwaukee County’s longstanding policy is to provide medical services internally, rather than contract with an outside vendor, and $300,000 to ensure adequate funds are available for the planning necessary to transition to in-house provision of medical care.
In 2013, a judge ordered Milwaukee County to contract with Armor Correctional Health Services over the objection of the Board of Supervisors, but supported by then Sheriff Clarke and the Abele Administration.
Armor’s annual contract had previously been extended through April 1, 2019.
Day-to-day oversight of the inmate healthcare contract remains under the Superintendent of the House of Corrections.