Six companies have submitted proposals to handle medical and mental health services for Luzerne County prison inmates, according to county Correctional Services Division Head Mark Rockovich.
Rockovich said the lengthy and detailed proposals are under review.
County council recently approved a one-year extension with the current provider — Kansas-based Correct Care Solutions — as the administration comes up with a proposal on whether to keep Correct Care or switch providers. This extension can be cancelled with a 120-day notice if the county ends up selecting another company.
Council members had questioned Correct Care representatives in January as part of an effort to address four female inmate deaths since June 2017. Company representatives agreed to help fund cell monitoring cameras and implement other measures to step up prevention but stressed many prisons are struggling with increased inmate drug dependence and mental health issues.
Correct Care is paid about $2.16 million per year to provide a range of services and personnel, including a medical and mental health team to perform inmate screening, health assessments and examinations. Prescription and non-prescription drugs, emergency ambulance transport and other medical treatment also are included in the package.
• Council Vice Chairman Eugene Kelleher recently called for more citizens to apply for unpaid seats on boards, authorities and commissions, noting a lack of appointees for the advisory board overseeing the county-owned Wyoming Valley Airport in Forty Fort and the aging and mental health advisory boards.
“If anybody knows somebody who flies in and out of there and uses a plane, we need people,” Kelleher said, referring to the airport board.
In comparison, eight are interested in serving on the authority overseeing the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre Township, which has no vacancies. Nine are on an eligibility list seeking seats on the Luzerne County Community College Board of Trustees.
Information on vacancies and applying is posted at www.luzernecounty.org.
• Councilwoman Jane Walsh Waitkus urged young people to consider applying for board seats. She agreed to write letters to area colleges and universities who may have political science students who want to “get their feet wet in government” by serving.
• County Democratic committee members are slated to select a county committee chair later this month. It’s unclear if current Chairman Michael DeCosmo is interested in keeping the post.
• Council’s County Code Review Committee will meet at 4 p.m. Tuesday at the courthouse on River Street in Wilkes-Barre, with plans to start focusing on possible ethics code changes, said committee Chairwoman Linda McClosky Houck.
The committee likely will present proposed personnel code changes to council this month, she said.
• McClosky Houck asked for an update on the new county website launch at the May 22 council meeting because the administration had set a May 21 target date.
County Manager C. David Pedri said the administration is now shooting for late June. While all staffers have been trained, more work is needed to maximize the content that will appear on some pages, Pedri said.
“Now it’s a matter of what the website can really be,” he said, noting some focus is on getting away from “incredibly long scrolling” in favor of a more “picture-oriented” design.
Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.