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Gov. Carney expresses concern with DOC leadership over patient records probe

Delaware Public Media
Gov. John Carney

Gov. John Carney is declining to say whether he retains confidence in Department of Correction Commissioner Perry Phelps.

His remarks come a day after Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings (D) opened an investigation into allegations staff with prison medical provider Connections falsified records showing inmates were getting counseling they did not receive.

Carney said he’s very upset over the entire situation - and plans to discuss the issue with Phelps.

“Our Attorney General ought to do what’s appropriate from a law enforcement perspective, but it’s our responsibility to make sure contractors are doing what we’re paying them to do,” he said.

Former inmates in the program told The News Journal they were forced to sign backdated treatment plans that falsely stated they got counseling.

State Sen. Brian Pettyjohn (R-Georgetown) sits on the Senate Correction and Public Safety Committee. He said he’s also concerned about language in the state’s contract with Connections that allows it to perform self-audits that DOC keeps secret.

“It’s the fox watching the hen house, at this point," he said. "And there should be no contract that’s written that the state can’t go in and do the audits and do the reviews and make sure what should be happening is actually happening.”

In late February a DOC spokeswoman told Delaware Public Media it was not aware of the allegations. But The News Journal reports a former Connections staffer submitted a resignation letter in December 2018 alleging her superiors ordered her to backdate forms. She also declined at that time to answer questions about whether program supervisor Carolyn Seaton-Scott was involved.

DOC’s spokeswoman says Phelps stands by comments the department’s Healthcare Services Chief Marc Richman made to The News Journal saying the allegations have not made DOC hesitant to renew Connections contract through 2020. 

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