The Bibb County Jail received its second Georgia Medical Association Accreditation, Wednesday afternoon. This is the second accreditation since 2011. The Medical Accreditation is based upon nationally recognized standards of health care in correctional facilities and it represents a constitutionally acceptable level of care. This significant designation was the result of the efforts of staff from the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office Corrections Division, Correct Health, the jail physical health provider, and River Edge Behavioral Health, the jail mental health provider.

There are 159 counties in the State of Georgia and there are only 8 county jails that have received this accreditation, 4 of which Correct Health provides the medical services. The medical accreditation is available for renewal every three years.

The Medical Association of Georgia is the accrediting organization for the healthcare programs in the Georgia Department of Corrections and various county jails throughout the state.  It takes over a year of preparation for the initial accreditation, as a track record of care that meets the standards.  In addition, preparations involve officer and healthcare staff training, food services and physical plant maintenance.  While most of the evaluations are concentrated on the healthcare provided to our detainees, there are certain environmental standards that must be met. The standards also include guidelines for patient and staff safety.

Corrections, medical, and mental health worked together in an effort to document that the care provided would meet all of the Medical Association of Georgia standards.

In August of 2014, a team of surveyors, including representatives from medical, mental health, nursing and administration, inspected and conducted health record audits to determine how care was provided at the Bibb County Jail.  The surveyors then prepared a multiple page report based upon their observations that was submitted to the Medical Association of Georgia’s Corrections Committee, the entity that actually approves or denies the accreditation application.  An accreditation report is required annually to verify that our healthcare program continues to provide according to the accreditation standards.

Accreditation for the Bibb Sheriff’s Office Corrections Division is important for a number of reasons. First, it validates that the Sheriff’s Office provides appropriate care that meets all constitutional requirements.  Secondly, it indicates that the Bibb County Jail has a well-managed, efficient and cost-effective healthcare system.  Thirdly, it protects the health of our detainees, staff and ultimately, our community by assuring that those who are incarcerated and released have received adequate and appropriate health care.