Where is medical inmate care heading in Augusta?

Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 8:34 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Augusta commissioners are moving the start date up for their new inmate medical care provider- VitalCore Health Strategies.

Contracts were slated to start in the new year but the current provider, Wellpath, could be checking out sooner than expected.

But as one problem moves out, another might be coming in.

Before city leadership at Tuesday’s committee meetings, Corporal Calvin Chew said, “Right now Wellpath is dropping the ball on a lot of our services, and we need to get this in at least a month earlier.”

Our I-TEAM exposed two deaths under Wellpath’s care, but the new provider might not be much of an improvement.

Our sister station in Charleston, whose county made the exact same switch in providers, reports VitalCore has more than two dozen federal lawsuits across several states.

So how’d they make it through the process?

Augusta considered six different providers including Wellpath and VitalCore. The evaluation ranked each on a point system across ten categories including experience and references.

From there, candidates were interviewed. The questions that came up the most- financial stability and cost.

“I, myself, don’t worry about their reputations. I just worry about what they’re going to do when they’re here,” says Charles B Webster Head of Operations, Maj. Charles Mitchell. “It’s always going to be staffing for me. I can’t run this facility without medical care. I just can’t. So staffing is my number one concern with medical personnel being here.”

With low staffing and an overflowing inmate population, hopefully, VitalCore’s extra hands can provide some help.

We asked VitalCore Health Strategies for an interview and they have yet to respond.