Advanced Correctional Healthcare’s Risk Management Program

People who work in corrections understand that inmates file a disproportionately high number of lawsuits. Because of our aggressive risk management program, ACH has never had a lawsuit result in a judgment against the company or our individual professionals.

The objective of ACH’s risk management program is to solve problems before they become fires. Therefore, it begins with intense training of the medical and mental health teams followed by continued monitoring, peer review, and training. Our program has resulted in not only a dramatic decrease in the number of lawsuits we incur, but also in a substantial decrease in the cost of ACH’s professional liability insurance.

Our insurance company indicated that ACH’s proactive and problem-solving approach to patient care has led us to incur three times fewer lawsuits than our competitors in the correctional healthcare industry. We have spent over a decade becoming the experts in jail healthcare. Our team not only attends national correctional healthcare conferences in order to constantly re-evaluate and improve our practices, but they’re also frequently asked to lecture at those national conferences.

ACH is unique in that we not only insure our staff with professional liability insurance to cover claims of negligence, but we also have a civil rights endorsement on our policy to tackle the federal § 1983 claims.

Over half the time, patient lawsuits filed against ACH are dismissed. In most cases, the patient simply did not get something they wanted. ACH is different from our competitors in that we won’t settle a case for a nuisance amount just to make it disappear. If our team hasn’t done anything wrong in the course of the patient’s care, we will stand up for our team and fight the case to the point of jury trial. We have reached the point of jury trial four times, and prevailed each time. In those cases, we spent tens of thousands of dollars defending our team when a much smaller settlement would have motivated the plaintiff to walk away. Because those settlements could be memorialized on our team’s medical licenses, we don’t think it’s fair to take the easy way out. Our CEO is adamant that we not allow money to get in the way of doing the right thing. We are proud that we can honestly say the ACH team has never had a judgment levied against it.

In the rare event our team has made a mistake in patient care, we do the right thing by immediately taking ownership of the error and determining how we can remedy the injury and make the plaintiff whole. It’s just the right thing to do. This type of analysis is performed for every single one of our lawsuits. Once the plaintiff is made whole, our work doesn’t stop. We treat lawsuits as opportunities to learn how we can do our jobs better. For each of the few settlements we have made, we have changed our company practices nationwide. Learning from our mistakes is probably why our insurance rates are substantially lower than that of our competitors.

Malpractice Cost Per Inmate Per Year**

Vendor 1 Vendor 2 Vendor 3 Vendor 4 Armor ACH*
$209 $186 $98 $83 $75 $29.36

**Data taken from Armor Correctional’s response to the Minnehaha, South Dakota RFP, 2013
*For year August 2014 – July 2015

In my practice, I defend healthcare providers working in correctional facilities, both prisons and jails, and I have never been so impressed with the infrastructure and guidance provided by a company. [ACH] is leading the industry.

Heidi A. Barcus

Attorney, Tennessee