New medical company to treat Lake County inmates

A Pittsburgh company has been hired to provide medical services at the Lake County jail starting in February 2014.

Wexford Health Services will replace Correct Care Solutions, a Nashville, Tenn., firm.

The change in vendors comes as officials and the public await a final report about the high-profile deaths of two inmates in 2012. The new vendor was approved by the county board Tuesday.

Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor called the search for a medical company “a normal process for the county.”

He said the change occurred because the contract with Correct Care is expiring, not because of the deaths.

Wexford will be paid more than $2.2 million annually for its work.

The company will treat inmates at the main jail in Waukegan and the juvenile complex near Vernon Hills. It also will create an electronic medical record system for the jail.

The contract is a two-year agreement that includes three, 1-year renewal options. It's expected to save the county about $300,000, according to documents.

County officials requested proposals from 34 companies. Four responded, all from outside Lake County.

A committee comprised of representatives from the Lake County sheriff's office, court administration, the health department and other departments evaluated the proposals.

Jail operations have been scrutinized since the two inmates' deaths.

Lyvita Gomes of Vernon Hills died in January 2012 after a hunger strike at the jail. She was dehydrated and malnourished, an autopsy showed.

Eugene Gruber of Grayslake died in March 2012, about four months after a violent confrontation with a guard at the jail left him paralyzed.

No one was criminally charged in either death. A final report from an independent investigation ordered last year has not yet been issued.

Both deaths have led to lawsuits.

Lawlor declined to comment on the deaths, citing the lawsuits.

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