A prison healthcare contractor paid $200,000 to settle a wrongful death lawsuit


York’s daily record reported this week that the York County Jail’s private healthcare provider reached a $200,000 settlement with the estate of an inmate who died by suicide in 2016.

The newspaper was able to access the full settlement after successfully challenging the sealing of the case with legal support from attorneys from the Reporters’ Committee and the First Amendment Clinic at Cornell Law School. The York Daily Record has sought to make public the settlement between PrimeCare Medical and the estate of Veronique Aundrea Henry after the county initially decided to release only part of the settlement agreement – the Portion of $5,000 paid by the county – in response to the newspaper’s request for documents. However, the county left the public in the dark about how much PrimeCare paid to settle the estate’s claim that Henry’s death was the result of insufficient mental health care.

“The discrepancy between the actual settlement and the dollar amount the county chose to share in this case shows why the public should always have access to full and complete records,” said York Daily editor Randy Parker. Record. “Only when all the facts are on the table can the public properly hold the government and its contractors accountable.”

The county had asserted that it was not required to disclose the terms of PrimeCare’s settlement with the estate because PrimeCare is not a government entity and therefore not subject to Pennsylvania’s right to know law. However, the newspaper argued, among other things, that a provision of the law covering organizations that perform “essential government functions” applied to PrimeCare.

On August 5, U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin C. Carlson granted the newspaper’s request in full and ordered the unsealing of registry entries related to PrimeCare’s settlement with the estate.

“Hopefully this signals to PrimeCare and other contractors that they cannot hide information through sealing orders,” said Paula Knudsen Burke, attorney for the Local Legal Initiative of the Committee of Journalists in Pennsylvania.

The terms of PrimeCare’s settlement with Henry’s estate are particularly relevant given that York County recently entered into another contract with the healthcare provider, who was named a defendant in 18 federal trials filed in Pennsylvania last year. According to York Daily Recordthe new contract will begin in October and run through 2025 at a rate of nearly $8 million per year.

“If taxpayers’ money is at stake, taxpayers have a right to know if these contractors are performing services adequately or if there is a problem,” Burke said.

Of the $200,000 PrimeCare payout, more than $100,000 was spent on attorney fees and court costs, according to the York Daily Record. The rest of the settlement amount was split between Henry’s survivors, including three children and an incarcerated husband, and his estate.

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