Wyandotte County medical clinic for inmates 1 of nation's best - KCTV5

Wyandotte County's medical clinic for inmates 1 of nation's best

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KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -

Wyandotte County has one of the nation's top-rated medical clinics for inmates.

People are held in Wyandotte County detention center for a laundry list of reasons from the most serious crimes, like homicide, to urinating in public or not paying a traffic ticket.

And some of society's most fragile, undeserved end up there too.

Workers at the jail, including Sheriff Don Ash, said it is a Constitutional responsibility to give them appropriate medical attention when needed.

Before they are booked into the jail, inmates are issued a health evaluation.

"There are some certain things on that sheet that are flagged that if they say yes to, we get on the phone and call medical," said Lt. Kelli Bailiff with the Wyandotte County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies at intake are trained to see the signs of a medical emergency, which is one reason the jail was recently accredited with the National Commission on Correctional Health Care.

The detention center scored 100 percent with no deficiencies - the top scoring health care clinic within seven jails in six states.

"It is a reward for the hard work everybody has done," Ash said.

On average, each month, the medical unit completes up to 1,000 calls, taking care of could-be criminals. Doctors and nurses treat every medical emergency from gunshot wounds and pregnancies to alcohol abuse, drug addition and mental illness.

"That's not our job to judge. Our job is to provide medical care to the people that are inside this facility," nurse Tammy Kieffer said.

Cost of care at the facility is $2.5 million each year. The accreditation gives the sheriff confidence that tax dollars are being spent right.

"We have a Constitutional responsibility to provide adequate care, custody and control for incarcerated persons and so we want to be Constitutionally compliant as we can be," Ash said.

It also protects the jail should it ever be sued by leaning on the accrediting agency to say it is providing appropriate care to national standards.

"Lawsuits in correctional facilities are common," Ash added.

Ash said the accreditation process gives them guidelines to reach the national standards and it has improved the overall function of the jail. 

It also allows them to look at other areas it can improve, like finding a way to cut back on the so called "frequent flyers" who use the medical unit as a means of free healthcare.

Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.)  All rights reserved.

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