It is ironic the way things in life often come full circle and fall right into place. When Becky Payne started her career more than 30 years ago, she never imagined she would work in health care.

Long before Becky became Wexford Health’s Health Care Unit Administrator (HCUA) for Yavapai County Detention Facility (AZ), she started her career as a certified police officer and she really enjoyed working in the community. After a couple years on the force, and many first-responder experiences with injured or sick people, she decided to take an Emergency Medical Technician class. “I was taking a Technician class and the Medic teaching it convinced me to go into Nursing. I had previously never considered it!” says Becky. From there she set the wheels in motion to go back to school and begin a career in nursing.

As a registered nurse, she worked for almost ten (10) years in various positions in different settings throughout Arizona. It was when she saw an ad for an opening with Wexford Health at the Yavapai County Jail that she felt her career path had come full circle. To start in law enforcement and then go into nursing, and then finally correctional nursing – it was the perfect fit. As they say, “the rest is history”, and she has served as the Jail’s HCUA ever since.
“In my role the best part of my job is the interpersonal interactions I have every day with the medical and security teams. Working with these fun and skilled folks makes my day.” And she really means it. Everyone at the jail works together and they all lean on, and learn from, each other a great deal.

When looking at the work she has accomplished at Yavapai over the past 14 years, she is most proud of the Restoration to Competency (RTC) program. RTC is Yavapai’s innovative approach to restore the defendant to competency for court by educating the defendant on the court process and also assessing the individual’s cognitive gains. The program has been very successful, and is now duplicated in other counties across the state. “I’m quite proud of the RTC program we put together for Yavapai and the amazing way our team has acclimated to the extra responsibilities they inherited when we started it. Everyone stepped up to make it a comprehensive and efficient program which has enjoyed tremendous success for nearly eight (8) years now. It is a real financial God-send for our home county of Yavapai as well!” says Becky.

Moving forward, she is pleased to see an increased emphasis on addressing mental illness in corrections, and improved release coordination and re-entry services. Years ago she was involved in the development of the first mental health unit at Yavapai Jail, and she has seen first-hand the benefits and importance of those services. To add to that unit, the jail is developing a women’s mental health unit and program – another crucial piece in the care the jail needs to provide.

As Becky says, “Yavapai and Wexford Health are never at a loss for projects here at the jail”. The list of ongoing projects and potential opportunities that Becky may be working on may be long, but for her the work is satisfying and it is crucial for the community. For example, working with facility leadership, Becky created programming that provides homeless (or rideless) inmates with a social worker to coordinate a safe place to go upon release, and also recently assisted in writing a grant for additional monies to provide safe transportation to released inmates. In addition, with an eye the opioid epidemic that is sweeping the country, Yavapai and Wexford Health started the first Vivitrol Release Program in Arizona. On March 1, 2018, they added a Naloxone Release Program to help prevent opioid overdoses in the community.

As a former first responder, she knows how important it is to study the results of programs like these and also ensure the continuation of support for released offenders with drug addictions. She is now working to procure better statistical data on the recipients’ follow-up care in the community, and has met with the Jail Commander and other staff to see how they can benefit from a large state grant that is focused on enhancing opioid addiction in municipalities throughout the state.
It may seem like Becky is really busy with projects at the Jail, and for the most part that is true because she always has multiple projects on her plate, but it is just another day for Becky. Outside of work at the jail, she cherishes her family, and any family time she can get, and also her volunteer work. As the Chairwoman of a state-wide group of correctional nurse leaders, she gets to learn from, and compare, practices with health care staff and leaders from the other 14 jails in Arizona. “I love hearing how some have found successful ways to overcome the challenges of correctional health care, along with being able to help others with the experiences we’ve had in Yavapai.”

Maryland is finding that utilizing telehealth services leads to savings in inmate transportation costs, while improving public safety and inmates’ clinical care, and Wexford Health is leading the way.

Government Technology reports:

Wexford has been involved in telemedicine for more than seven years, said Thomas Lehman, M.D., the company’s corporate medical director, and handled 12,000 telemedicine visits last year. He said Maryland is not alone in expressing increased interest in expanding its use. “When we look at the new bids and proposals, all corrections departments across the country are now interested, not only from the aspect of public safety and decreasing overtime costs, but also of delivering good care and access to specialists for inmate patients.”

Read more at GovTech.com.

 

Yavapai County courthouse in Prescott Arizona.

In Yavapai County (Arizona), Wexford Health’s Restoration to Competency program (RTC) has returned a significant amount of enrolled inmates to sufficient mental competency to stand trial. Previously, inmates were transported to the Arizona State Hospital in Phoenix, which was both expensive and time-consuming.

Inmates are referred to the RTC program by the Superior Court. By law, they have 15 months to successfully complete RTC. In the county’s version of the RTC, inmates have been found to spend as much as 65 percent less time enrolled – an average of 63 days – before they finish treatment than they did when they were sent to the Arizona State Hospital.

Read more at the Daily Courier.

In partnership with Wexford Health’s mental health program, local artist and teacher Anne Dennis created a unique art class at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility which helped female inmates.

Davis helps inmates to create artworks that express why they are in prison and what they have learned while they are there. Their hope was that public visitors to the “Despair to Destiny” exhibit would help people to avoid repeating the mistakes that put them in prison.

Wexford Health’s program is designed to help inmates change and improve the way they reason and come to decisions. Learning to create art helps them to express and heal the pain they feel as they go through the program.

 

Our innovative Restoration to Competency Program provides mental health care services to criminal defendants who have been deemed incompetent to stand trial, allowing the judicial process to move forward. Our success was recognized nationally in 2014, receiving the rare honor of three different national awards, including the Innovation in Corrections Award from the American Correctional Association.

The Restoration to Competency program has been a tremendous success for everyone involved, and we are honored that it’s been recognized by so many prestigious national organizations. It’s a great program that transforms correctional mental health care by improving lives, advancing the justice system, and saving taxpayer dollars.

– Daniel Conn, President and Chief Executive Officer of Wexford Health Sources.

Read more at BusinesssWire.com.

In 2009, Mark Hale, president and CEO of Wexford Health Sources Inc., which contracts medical services to all of Mississippi’s state-run corrections operations, pledged to certify Mississippi’s health care staff. Plans for this initiative began early in 2008, when staff from Wexford, the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) and the American Correctional Association began discussions about administering the nurse and nurse manager certification exams to the Wexford nurses employed at three facilities across the state.

ACA’s CCN and CCN/M programs offer nurses who work in corrections a unique opportunity to test their knowledge and skills in the specialty area of correctional nursing. Candidates qualify for the exam on the basis of their education and work experience. CCN candidates are line nurses in staff positions that do not require them to supervise other staff. They must be either a registered nurse, a licensed practical nurse or a licensed vocational nurse and have one year of correctional nursing experience in their current position. CCN/M candidates need to have an RN license in good standing with their state nursing board, and either an associate, bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing or a three-year nursing diploma.

Wexford provided study materials for their candidates and gave them two to three months to prepare for the exam. The resource materials, as well as the exams, cover the following topics: conflict management, health care, legal issues, mental health, nursing practice, offender management/general information, security/environment, standards/accreditation and the American Nursing Association’s Corrections Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice.

 

(Excerpted from Corrections Today)

 

Wexford Health is working with the Indiana Department of Corrections to provide medically-assisted treatment or MAT programs, thereby giving more inmates access to addiction recovery treatment while in prison.

When the Department of Corrections found that 60% of males entering prison have substance abuse issues, with the majority of those individuals also having problem behaviors associated with substance abuse, they worked with Wexford Health to explore treatment options. The MAT program offers options like medication that blocks the effects of alcohol and opiates.

Read more at WANE.com.

 

For years, Dr. Rod Matticks and his wife Maria wanted to volunteer in a medical mission. Unfortunately, it is not easy to leave the country for weeks at a time with work and a family. Along with Dr. Matticks’ position as one of Wexford Health’s regional medical directors for the State of Illinois inmate health care contract, Maria is an early intervention professional development and training consultant with the University of Illinois. They are also proud parents to twin boys and a daughter.

Based on Dr. Matticks years of experience in correctional facilities, he knows that medications regularly go to waste for a number of reasons. This knowledge gave him an idea that turned into a meaningful way to help people in need. Inspired by biblical scripture, and wanting to lessen the waste of the unused medications and their potential effect on the environment, he and his wife started the non-profit organization Twelve Baskets Full, Inc. Twelve Baskets Full acquires unused medications from multiple prison and jail facilities in Illinois and West Virginia, as well as a few specialty pharmacies and long-term care facilities. Volunteers for Twelve Baskets Full review the shipments carefully. All medications that meet strict federal requirements are sorted according to type of medication and usage. Once each medication is logged and ready for distribution, these medication donations are sent out to medical missions around the world. Over the past two and a half years, Twelve Baskets Full has supported 32 medical missions in thirteen different third world countries, helping thousands of people.

“Here in the US, we think nothing of taking an Advil or Tylenol for minor aches and pains. There are people in third world countries that use these same over-the-counter drugs as their only pain reliever for major surgeries,” says Maria. On some occasions, Rod and Maria receive details on the adults and children being helped by the medical missions and donations from Twelve Baskets Full. One such story involves a young girl in Guatemala who suffers from seizures and could not go to school. A medical mission visited her village. She was seen by a physician who provided her Keppra, an extremely effective anti-seizure medication. Thanks to the medicine donated by Twelve Baskets Full, this young girl can now go to school, see her friends, and lead a healthier and happier life.

Moving forward, both Rod and Maria would like to see more medications come in that can work with unique medical needs. Around the world, there is a demand for medications that help with chronic health issues. Both are quick to say that while there is still room for growth and opportunity with their personal mission in Twelve Baskets Full, they are extremely thankful for all of the support they have received up to this point. “We recognize all of the hard work that health care staff in our partners in jails and prisons put into separating, collating, and preparing medication donations for the program. We are so appreciative for all of the work they do to help us fulfill this important work,” says Dr. Matticks.

As they continue to their work with Twelve Baskets Full and create an improved sustainability plan for the non-profit, they still have one more thing they hope to accomplish. “We would both really like to go on a medical mission someday,” says Maria. “We hope that down the road we can see a donation through from beginning to end. We would like to see your donations in action,” says Dr. Matticks.

Twelve Baskets Full can accept donations from any facility in the US. To inquire about donating medications from your facility, please contact Maria Matticks at mmatticks@12BasketsFull.org.

 

The term “disruptive technology” refers to innovations that displace established technologies, sometimes creating entirely new industries.  Past examples include the automobile replacing the horse and carriage, or the rise of computers fundamentally changing the way we live. In the present disruptive technologies are transforming the way citizens and government relate to each other.

Government Technology reports:

The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, which cares for 22,000 inmates in 27 facilities, including the Baltimore city jail, was spending $5 million to $6 million annually in transport and overtime pay to take prisoners to off-site clinics. It recently made a significant investment in telehealth equipment in partnership with its private-sector partner, Pittsburgh-based Wexford Health Sources Inc. Dr. Thomas Lehman, Wexford’s corporate medical director, said Maryland is not alone in expressing interest in expanding the equipment’s use. “When we look at the new bids and proposals, all corrections departments across the country are now interested, not only from the aspect of public safety and decreasing overtime costs, but also of delivering good care and access to specialists for inmate patients.”

Read more at GovTech.com.

With the help of Wexford Health, the West Virginia State Division of Corrections has saved more than $1 million in medical treatment for inmates over the course of the year.

The Division has also saved money on its medical contract with Wexford Health Services, which previously paid for all inmate hospitalizations up to $5,000 per inmate per year, (Debbie Hissom, health services administrator for the Division of Corrections) said. Quantifying how much the Division saved on the contract is difficult.

Read more at the Charleston Gazette-Mail.