UNMH partners with Bernalillo County to provide services at MDC

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Staffing issues within the Metropolitan Detention Center have been a long-term problem for months, but the jail’s medical provider issues stem even deeper.

As KOB 4 previously reported, MDC recently terminated its contract in January with YesCare, a company that has seen several lawsuits in the past and recently just declared bankruptcy on Wednesday. The troubled medical provider is also known as “Corizon.”

MDC will officially need a new health care provider in the upcoming months, and UNM Hospital is stepping in to help.

UNMH will be partnering with Bernalillo County to become MDC’s new health care service provider for inmates. In a joint press release, MDC and UNMH stated they are in the beginning phases of this partnership.

Bernalillo County Manager Julie Morgas directly mentioned that the new partnership is a step forward in addressing the health crisis of fentanyl and the detrimental effects it has on inmates detoxing at MDC.

MDC officials said they have connected inmate deaths in the past to detoxing from hard drugs.

In just the first few weeks of 2023, three inmates died at MDC. One of those deaths was even ruled a suicide – that makes more than 20 deaths since the pandemic began.

UNMH confirmed that they will become MDC’s health care service provider this summer with plans for a multi-year contract once MDC’s other contract ends in July.

UNMH officials said they will immediately begin a campaign to recruit and retain qualified staff to provide medical behavioral services at MDC.

KOB 4 did reach out to UNMH and MDC, but they both could not make any further comments on this new partnership at the moment, saying it’s just the beginning and more details will come as the plan progresses.

Bernalillo County is also partnering with UNMH on a new Behavioral Health Crisis Center set to open in early 2024.