Angelina Co. commissioners approve jail partnership with Tenn. company

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The Angelina County commissioners approved a contract with Southern Health Partners in providing services to the Angelina County jail, pending approval from the Angelina County attorney.

SHP is based out of Chattanooga, Tenn., and has been in operation for 20 years and is in jails in 14 states.

"Our goal when contracted with the county is to minimize those cost when possible but also give the best care as possible because of the rights you are talking about," said marketing representative Tim Quintana. "We are charged with housing the inmates until they are adjudicated from the legal system; no more no less."

The cost of the new contract will be around $299,988. According to the sheriff's office the cost of the current contract with the health district is $306,766.

The new contract comes after the Angelina Counties and Cities Health District announced last month that they would not be renewing their contract with the jail.

In a letter to the court, the health district stated that the requested scope of services was not within their mission or capacity.

According to Sheriff Greg Sanches, SHP will provide staff to the jail for 16 hours a day. Under the old contract, the Health District provided care for 6 hours a day.

Another change will also be that the jail staff will no longer be able to pass out medication.

"Those two things really stood out the most to us and made the difference," Sanches said.

The new contract will also provide coverage to 235 inmates from the 190 inmates previously covered. The new plan will also have a weekend staff and an on call nurse when no one is at the jail. Other features of the contract include vaccinations to staff and inmates to prevent the spread of viruses, in-house suicide screening and additional training to current staff.

SHP representatives told commissioners that they have a 60-day out clause in the contract so that if in 60 days the county is not happy they are free of all cost with the contract.

"Hey If you don't want to be married to us after 60 days then neither do we. It's not a hard situation," I like to beextremelyy transparent when it deals with the county and the good of the people," Quintana said.

Quintana also said that the nurses hired for the positions will be from the area and he expects to have 8 total hires.

The county still has to have the county attorney sign off on the contract. The jail hopes the deal can be done by the middle of September.

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