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Barrow Sheriff's Office to seek new health care provider for jail

WINDER - Effective Thursday, Barrow County will sever its ties with Southern Health Partners, the company that provides health care to inmates at the county jail.

Chief Deputy Murray Kogod of the Barrow County Sheriff's Office said the decision not to renew the company's contract was mutual. The county will enter a three-month contract with Georgia Correctional Health LLC while they put out bids for a long-term health care provider.

Bruce Bley, assistant division commander at the jail, said Southern Health Partners had used a licensed practical nurse as a site manager, when they are required by law to have a registered nurse managing the site. The company also had issues with documentation that left the county open to liabilities, he said.

"This leaves us in a little bit of a lurch," he said. "We need to maintain a proper level of care."

Sheriff Joel Robinson said his office had known the contract would not be renewed for about a month, but that did not allow enough time to get bids out. Mike Katsegaines, Barrow County Detention Center division commander, had called 12 agencies to see what health care providers they used and found that 10 of them had contracted with Georgia Correctional Health, Robinson said.

Robinson said switching health care providers is the first of many steps the Sheriff's Office needs to take in preparation for its new criminal justice facility, which is expected to be completed in two years.