Originally created 05/26/05

MCG might not treat inmates



The company that runs Medical College of Georgia Hospital and Clinics is preparing its budget for next year assuming it will not be treating many state prisoners even as a task force continues to look into the fatal shooting of a prisoner there last month.

At a meeting Wednesday of the executive committee of MCG Health Inc., officials presented preliminary budget figures that do not include revenue from a contract with Georgia Correctional Health Care, an MCG-created entity that contracts with the Department of Corrections to provide care for prisoners. The health system suspended all but emergency care April 21 after an MCG police officer shot an escaping prisoner who had overpowered his prison guard and taken his gun.

"We have basically assumed that we will no longer continue to provide services to the Department of Corrections" prisoners, said Thomas Kelly Jr., the senior vice president and chief financial officer for MCG Health Inc.

A task force of MCG, MCG Health and Corrections employees are reviewing the incident and are scheduled to make recommendations to MCG President Daniel W. Rahn, Corrections Commissioner James Donald and MCG Health CEO Don Snell. The task force, which meets again today, is expecting to conclude its work in early June, said Robert Bradford, the managing director of Georgia Correctional Health Care.

The health system is still providing emergency services, Dr. Rahn said.

"At the same time, we are never placing anyone at risk of a recurrence," he said.

In his President's Report, Mr. Snell wrote that the health system "will have to see firm commitment to the needed changes before we agree to get back in business."

Corrections had not been informed about a potential termination of the contract and was awaiting a plan from the task force that would be acceptable to all parties and would likely mean providing more services at the medical prison, spokeswoman Scheree Lipscomb said.

"As soon as that's approved, we'll return to business," she said.

Georgia Correctional Health Care has about a dozen hospitals across the state that it regularly deals with, Mr. Bradford said.

"I'm in hopes we can resume some normal business, because I tend to think it's good for all the parties involved," he said.

Reach Tom Corwin at (706) 823-3213 or tom.corwin@augustachronicle.com.

WHAT'S WHAT

Medical College of Georgia, the school, and MCG Health Inc., a nonprofit company that runs the school's hospitals and clinics, are separate entities with separate administrations.