Oklahoma Firm Is Awarded Medical Contract -
Friday afternoon I got word that Turn Key Medical Services was awarded the new contract to provide medical services for those confined at the Tulsa County Jail. One of the partners of Turn Key is State Rep. Jon Echols, of Oklahoma City.
I spoke with Mr. Echols during the drawn out process. He said a primary focus of improvement will be the delivery of psychiatric services; an area of extensive criticism over the past 3 years. Armor Health Services of Florida had been the contracted provider. Several deaths, serious injuries, and lawsuits have resulted from the lapses in care.
Turn Key is an Oklahoma success story. Several counties now rely on the Oklahoma company to provide necessary healthcare for the confined population. This month, the Little Rock Arkansas jail also awarded a sizable contract to the company. Echols is also a partner in a medical staffing company. That synergy will likely strengthen the reliability of Turn Key, in having plenty of qualified medical professionals to draw from.
Echols says his health delivery service also provides care to several surrounding counties in northeast Oklahoma.
Jon Echols was one of the co-founders of Turn Key Health Clinics in 2009. He is another life long resident of Oklahoma with strong family roots in the state. Prior to starting Turn Key Health he had co-founded several other healthcare companies focused on recruiting and retaining top medical talent. He received his B.S. from the University of Oklahoma and his J.D. from Oklahoma City University. His initial practice focused on complex healthcare transactional work and litigation. Jon’s diverse background and concern for patient care is a great asset to Turn Key Health.
Many of the Sooner Politics readers know that this writer is also a leader in the community's mental health advocacy and education effort. As the 2015 President of NAMI Tulsa (National Alliance on Mental Illness). I have been tapped to chair NAMI Tulsa's committee on Incarceration Policy and procedure. both present and retired law enforcement personnel are also serving on this committee. Our goal is to work with the Tulsa County Law Enforcement to identify and recommend areas where reform and innovation can make for a safer jail and save the county significant funds.
Of particular concern is the skyrocketing population of mentally ill being housed in the jail at far higher cost to taxpayers than if they were admitted to the Tulsa Center for Behavioral Health (a state funded psychiatric hospital). With TCBH being perpetually full, law enforcement officers are forced to book unstable people into jail on misdemeanor charges, so as to resolve community disturbances.
Echols reports that his team will be planning several meetings this week, in preparation to take over duties at the jail by December 1st. Rep. Echols was at NAMI Tulsa's October Education meeting to introduce Cathy Costello, the widow of the slain State Labor Commissioner, Mark Costello. Mark was killed by his schizophrenic son, Christian.
Read more at TulsaWorld.com
This has been a tough year for the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office. the indicted veteran sheriff resigned, as did most of his administration. Vic Regalado was victorious in 2 primary elections and faces Rex Berry in a general election on November 8th. NAMI Tulsa remains committed to assist the community for the sake of better outcomes for the mentally ill and our limited county resources.
David Van Risseghem