I-Team: State Finds Jail Health Provider Negligent Again in Another Inmate's Death

State regulators probing a prisoner's death have once again found the company that treats sick inmates at the Nassau County Correctional Center engaged in "a pattern of inadequate and neglectful medical care," the I-Team has learned.

The findings represent at least the third time in four years New York's Commission of Correction has reprimanded Armor Correctional Health, a private contractor, for mismanaging the care of an inmate who died under the company's care.

In the most recent report, state regulators found Armor could have prevented the death of Kevin Brown, 47, a mentally ill patient who was jailed for petit larceny in January 2014.

Brown died of cardiac failure on Feb. 10, 2014. The report says his body was found "in full rigor mortis" indicating he was dead for more than four hours before jail staff found him.

“He deserved to be treated better than he was,” said Marcella Brown, the dead inmate’s mother. “I know he had seizures and that’s it.”

According to the report, Brown had two “episodes of seizures” shortly after he arrived at the jail. The authors concluded “the lack of a physician assessment and consideration for transfer to a hospital on a patient experiencing a medical emergency such as a seizure is evident of negligent medical care.”

Yeleny Suarez, an Armor representative, said the company couldn’t comment on specifics of the Brown case, but she noted patient care statistics “reflect the extreme volume of acute patients our providers serve with skill and dedication.” Suarez also noted the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office has praised Armor in the past for making what she called “vast improvements” at the jail.

In its report on Brown’s death, the Commission of Correction ordered the Nassau County Legislature to “conduct an inquiry into the fitness of Armor Correctional Health Services Inc. as a correctional care provider in the Nassau County Correctional Center.

Last month, the Commission of Correction made the same order in a report on the death of John Gleeson, a burglary suspect who died after a hereditary condition caused his neck to swell behind bars, constricting his breathing. State regulators said Gleeson’s death was demonstrative of "negligent medical care by Armor Inc.”

Responding to those findings, the office of Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano issued a statement saying Armor’s actions in the Gleeson case were under review.

Mangano’s office did not immediately respond to the I-Team’s request for comment on the Kevin Brown case.

In September, the I-Team spoke exclusively to a former Armor nurse, who said the jail medical provider has a pattern of failing to get inmates to the hospital and cutting financial corners at the expense of patients' welfare.

At that time, Armor representatives said the company has “a proven track record of delivering quality health care to more than 40,000 patient-inmates in eight states.”

The company has also said “health care providers in the corrections setting are subject to significant and frequently unfounded allegations.”

According to federal court records, dozens of lawsuits have been filed against Armor in the last five years.

The Nassau County Legislature renewed Armor’s contract $11 million contract after it expired earlier this year.

Brown’s mother said she believes Armor’s contract should not be renewed again.

"They need to get rid of them," Marcell Brown said.

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