The Fulton County Board of Commissioners believes it finally has the right firm to provide mental and physical health services to inmates at the Fulton County Jail.

“We are starting to see a better level of consistency of physical and mental health services with NaphCare Inc. that was called for within the contract, and we need to continue to monitor those funds,” District 2 Commissioner Bob Ellis said.

This is how Ellis viewed the board extending for a second straight year the one-year contract for inmate health services to Birmingham, Alabama-based NaphCare at a cost to the county of $24.18 million.

The board voted 6-0 to approve that contract at its recess meeting Oct. 16 at Assembly Hall in downtown Atlanta.

Fulton Vice Chairman and District 3 representative Lee Morris said he agreed the contract was “a hefty one, but everyone agrees that NaphCare Inc. is doing a good job.”

The contract is to provide physical and mental health services to Fulton’s main jail and its other incarceration facilities.

The county’s first contract with NaphCare was for 2018, at a price of $20.73 million, and its 2019 pact is for $22.83 million, with an amendment of $440,158 approved in August.

The new contract will take effect Jan. 1. This was the second of nine renewable options the county had to retain NaphCare, with seven other opportunities to renew the contract remaining.

“Fulton County has an obligation to these inmates to provide them mental and physical healthcare which has been a struggle for this county for years,” Morris said.

“We engaged with NaphCare two years ago and, despite this contract being large, they have been doing a good job.”

He said Fulton is the second largest provider of mental health services in the state, and the reason is many of those arrested and jailed do have mental health issues.

“It’s a big price, this 24-plus million dollar contract, but we have been happy with the work they have been doing,” he said.

According to Ellis, this mental and physical health issue for inmates “is an area in which we had had three different providers in the last few years,” he said.

“We have also had some challenges in this area with the quality of the physical and mental health care in the facility,” he said, “and it is one of those things that is necessary to have.”

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