Routine Investigation of NY Inmate Deaths Leads to $200,000 Fine

By Annie Wu, Epoch Times
September 25, 2014 9:11 pm Last Updated: September 25, 2014 9:15 pm

Maria Viera, 53, died at the Monroe County Jail in Sept. 2010 from heart inflammation, after a nurse failed to follow proper medical procedures.

Several weeks later, Justin McCue, 26, hung himself at the Dutchess County Jail after his mental health treatment was discontinued.

The state attorney general’s office investigated the deaths of six individuals who died while incarcerated at upstate county jails between 2009 ad 2012.

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced on Thursday that Correctional Medical Care, Inc., the for-profit healthcare company contracted to provide medial care at 13 New York county jails, will pay for an independent monitor to audit its contracts for the next three years.

As part of a settlement with the attorney general, the company will also have to pay $200,000 in fines.

The Pennsylvania-based company holds over $32 million worth of contracts with the 13 New York counties.

The investigation found that the company changed staff workers’ shifts from physicians and dentists to less qualified and lower-wage staff, including, in one instance, a nurse with a felony conviction.

The company also hired several unlicensed staff members.

Schneiderman said in a press statement, “Shortchanging medical services provided to jail populations can lead to direct harm to individuals and misses a public health opportunity to provide care to individuals who often have undiagnosed, untreated medical needs.”

Correctional Medical Care also violated a New York law that prohibits corporations from practicing medicine or employing physicians.

Only licensed medical professionals are allowed to do so, and the company’s owner, Maria Carpio, is not a licensed medical provider.

The attorney general stipulated that the company can now only provide administrative services, and will have to create a separate professional medical corporation to continue providing medical care.