Along with at least two other vendors, Anderson County plans to consider renewing TAKET LLC's annual $210,000 medical contract for the county jail next year.
The county will keep TAKET in the running for next year's contract, despite evidence and allegations of serious neglect by the private, for-profit medical provider.
In May, a Texas Rangers' investigation, spanning nearly a year, indicated TAKET caused, or contributed to, the 2018 death of prisoner Rhonda Newsome. The Rangers also re-opened the criminal investigation into Newsome's death in August.
Also last month, Newsome's family filed a $10-million dollar federal wrongful-death lawsuit against TAKET and Anderson County.
“None of this will have any bearing on our decision,” Anderson County Judge Robert Johnston told the Herald-Press Monday. “It can be years before that case is completed.”
This year, however, TAKET will not be the only option Johnston presents to county commissioners for the jail's medical contract. Johnston plans to present several contract options to the commission in late October.
“I have three medical companies under consideration right now [for 2020], including TAKET,” Johnston said. “It's quite possible there might be more before it goes to the commissioners.”
For years, TAKET LLC's managing members, Dr. Adam Corley and Registered Nurse Tim Green, were individually contracted by Anderson County. Corley and Green formed a company, TAKET LLC, in 2016.
Johnston said the companies he looked at last year did not guarantee the same service as did TAKET – and most were more costly. TAKET, he said, gave the county the most “bang for its buck.”
Newsome, 50, died in a holding cell on June 15 of last year, with Green and Corley on-duty.
Video of Newsome, as well as jail and medical records, were available to Anderson County Sheriff Greg Taylor immediately after Newsome died. Nevertheless, three months later, Taylor recommended that the county award TAKET the no-bid contract.
Taylor, who is named in the $10-million lawsuit, has refused to release the video or records. He also refused to release Newsome's medical records to her son, citing Newsome's privacy rights under federal law.
The investigation by the Texas Rangers showed Newsome died in the Anderson County Jail nearly seven hours after Palestine Regional Medical Center staff alerted Green to blood tests results that showed Newsome was in imminent danger of dying without immediate medical attention.
Moreover, an automatic electronic defibrillator that officers attempted to use on Newsome didn't work: It was improperly stored, lacked adult pads, and didn't have working batteries. It also was under a three-month-old factory recall.
Former prisoners who were in the jail with Newsome told the Herald-Press that Newsome pleaded to be taken to the hospital for several days before she died.