On July 11, 2016, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman filed a lawsuit against Armor, a private corporation that has an exclusive $11,000,000 annual contract with Nassau County to provide medical services to its prison inmates. The AG's office stated: "Since Armor started providing services to NCCC in 2011, 12 inmates have died in custody, one just last week, and three others since March 2016." Five of the inmates who died were later found by the NYS Commission on Correction to have received inadequate medical care. The Attorney General cited two problems with Armor, according to the complaint filed in the New York County Supreme Court: "Neglecting the duty to provide adequate care not only defrauds taxpayers, it compromises the health and safety of inmates with sometimes fatal consequences." Nassau contracted out the responsibility for medical care to Armor Correctional Health Medical Services, a private company founded by a Florida physician, 10 years ago.
Municipalities hope to reduce their labor costs by outsourcing governmental responsibilities to private corporations that don't have to comply with civil service laws or union contracts requiring fair wages and benefits. Unfortunately, the private corporations focus on profit, not delivering quality health care. This result of shoddy medical care is an increase medical malpractice lawsuits - potentially exposing Nassau County taxpayers with tremendous liability exposure. Fortunately, even Armor can be sued for medical malpractice as a state actor under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 for the acts of its employees.
This is a particularly desperate situation for Nassau County inmates who are entirely reliant on Nassau County to provide for their medical care while incarcerated. "Those struggling with chronic diseases, mental health and substance abuse problems" - typical of the Nassau County prison inmate population - need proper medical care. The health issues confronting Nassau County inmates are the usual ones: diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer, among others. Armor allegedly failed to follow its contractual obligations by failing to respond in a timely manner to inmates' requests for medical assistance, failing to provide timely access to prescription medication as well as diagnostic services and lab tests, not providing access to off-site medical specialists, and understaffing key clinical and managerial positions.
If you are or were an inmate at the Nassau County jail who was deprived of proper medical care and it caused you to suffer a serious medical complication, you should consult with a medical malpractice attorney immediately.