Wexford to hire health care staff as it takes over inmate medical services
Call goes out for hiring New Mexicans
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Wexford Health Sources, Inc., the company just selected by the administration to provide inmate medical care in the state, has announced that it plans to hire as many existing health care employees as possible who are currently in good standing at the prisons. The company has a record of hiring an average of 98% of current employees when it takes over an inmate health contract.
Earlier this week, Wexford Health was announced by the New Mexico Corrections Department (NMCD) as the health care company who will be taking over medical, dental, and pharmacy services for inmates in state prisons, starting on November 26. With the exception of a few psychiatrists, the contract does not include mental health care, as the majority of these services are provided by the state. The NMCD stated that Wexford Health was awarded the contract as the result of a thorough and rigorous competitive solicitation process.
“We do not bring in busloads of doctors and nurses from out-of-state,” said Dan Conn, President & CEO of Wexford Health. “Instead, we are hoping to retain all existing health care staff in good standing. This lets us transition the contract while maintaining continuity of both client service and patient care. In addition, Wexford Health will be hiring new health care professionals to support our contract with the state.”
“We’re very excited to be returning to New Mexico,” said Elaine Gedman, Wexford Health’s EVP & Chief Administrative Officer. “Our job is to raise the standard of correctional health care, and that’s what we intend to do.”
Wexford Health managed New Mexico’s inmate medical program more than a decade ago, from 2004 to 2007, when the contract included fewer than 200 employees to care for more than 6,200 inmates across the state. Throughout that time, the company recommended the addition of more health care professionals in order for the NMCD program to be successful and participated in ongoing discussions regarding the contract’s approved staffing plan. Unfortunately, this goal could not be accomplished under the existing agreement, and Wexford Health exited the state at the end of its 2007 contract year.
The NMCD took note of Wexford Health’s recommendations and greatly increased the number of health care positions in the contract’s next few iterations. The new 2019 contract increases clinical staffing by more than 43% over the 2007 contract, to help support a community standard of medical care for New Mexico inmates.
“We firmly believe this new contract will enable us to implement and operate a quality health care system for NMCD patients,” said Conn. “We have some innovative ideas about adapting traditional prison medical programs to fit New Mexico’s unique and challenging environment.”
Wexford Health also provides correctional services in seven other states, delivering quality care to approximately 100,000 inmates across the nation. In New Mexico, the company will provide health care for 6,000+ inmates in 11 prisons.
Wexford Health has made optimization of the state’s current correctional medical program one of its top priorities for the upcoming contract term.
“For each of our clients, we design and implement programs that address the distinctive needs of that state and its inmate population,” said Darius Holmes, Wexford Health Senior VP of Strategic Development. “In this contract, Wexford Health will be partnering with the NMCD, the state Human Services Department, the University of New Mexico, and other entities to form an innovative health care delivery system specifically designed for New Mexico’s correctional patients.”
Hiring for the inmate health care system has already begun and Wexford Health has put out a call for qualified candidates across the state of New Mexico. Prospective employees can inquire at https://jobs.wexfordhealth.com/.
“If you are interested in helping to provide quality health services for an underserved population, we encourage you to apply,” said Holmes.
Human Resources teams from Wexford Health are already on the ground in New Mexico visiting each prison, to pave the way for the new contract and to hold town hall meetings to educate incumbent employees on Wexford Health policies and benefits.
Wexford Health’s medical model includes a nearly 10% increase in staff over the contract currently in place. The company will use these additional employees to support a variety of care enhancements with the NMCD, including expansions of the Agency’s telehealth and pharmacy programs; and research into the potential implementation of an electronic health record.