Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

CONMED Not Using Licensed Nurses In Maryland Jail

Attempts to get jail medical services on the cheap may have backfired for Marylands Queen Anne County. CONMED, a private jail medical services company, has a contract to provide medical services at the countys 80-bed jail and 11 other Maryland jails. CONMED does this by hiring off-duty Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs).

According to CONMED official Ron Grubman, Youre dealing primarily with 18- to 30-year olds, most of whom arent staying any longer than 30 days.

Apparently, they also arent receiving adequate medical services during their brief stays. According to state Board of Nursing Executive Director Donna Dorsey, there have been complaints about the quality of the jails medical services and the jail should have been using licensed nurses to provide the health care. Dorsey disagrees with Grubmans claim that EMTs can handle most of the medical treatment needed at jails.

Its nothing against them, said Dorsey. But an EMT is licensed to do ambulance care, pick people up and treat them before they get to a hospital. Theyre not licensed to work in an institution.

However, jail Warden LaMonte Cook counters that such a move would more than double the jails medical costs from $200,000 a year to an estimated $421,000. This would severely affect the property tax rate.

This is a half cent on the tax rate! Commissioner Gene Ransom, D-Grasonville, cried. This is ridiculous!

Were not changing the rules, counters Dorsey. CONMED is not complying with the [already existing] rules.

Before budgeting the additional money for FY 2005-2006, the County Commissioners intend to ask the Maryland Association of Counties to lobby the state to reduce the requirements for jail health care providers. The county then might require additional certification of EMTs or guards to provide jail medical services. That sounds like a cure that could be worse than the disease--going from under-qualified EMTs providing health carte to unqualified guards doing it instead. Whats next? Prisoners providing their own medical services?

Source: Capital Gazette.

As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login