CLEVELAND — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from a previous story.
After embarking on a mission to improve its medical care, the Cuyahoga County Corrections Center has earned the highest standard in the field, receiving accreditation from the National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC).
"This elite accreditation – one that only a small percentage of jails and prisons obtain – comes from an independent organization that is the national leader in correctional health care. They are experts in the fields of health care and corrections who conduct a third-party objective assessment of facilities throughout the country. This recognition is a direct result of the hard work and concerted commitment that the county, MetroHealth, and other partners have made over the last several years to improve operations, procedures, staffing, and services in the both the jail and accompanying criminal justice programs,” Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish said in a statement. “Significant time, money, and resources have been devoted to these improvement efforts – all of which have dramatically enhanced health care options for these members of our community.”
Added MetroHealth President and CEO Akram Boutros, MD: “This is a huge accomplishment by our care team and our organization. We have worked collaboratively with Cuyahoga County leadership to dramatically improve outcomes for some of the most vulnerable members of our community by providing excellent, compassionate, and respectful care.”
In order to receive accreditation, the county had to "demonstrate full compliance in all 38 of the relevant essential standards and at least 17 of the 19 relevant important standards." Those standards include access to care, medical autonomy, monitoring of suicidal ideation and withdrawal, regular administrative meetings and reports, and a continuous quality improvement program, among others.
“This accreditation is a testament to the hard work by our care team working at the jail,” said Julia Bruner, MD, Senior Vice President for Behavioral Health and Correctional Medicine. “Through COVID and other challenges, we worked collaboratively with county leadership, jail staff and others to provide compassionate, quality care for our patients at the jail.”
According to a release, the patient population at the Cuyahoga County Jail "typically has much greater health needs than the broader community," including a higher rate of diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and other diseases, as well as substance use disorder. In 2019, Cuyahoga County and its medical partners at MetroHealth have worked to transform the delivery of care at the jail to meet inmates' medical needs.