Fayette County

Officials won't say why administrator no longer works at Fayette jail

For more than a week, officials have declined to explain why the Fayette County Detention Center's medical administrator is no longer employed at the facility.

Jail spokeswoman Jennifer Taylor said she could not say whether health service administrator Jonathan Bowen resigned or was fired. His employment ended the week of Aug. 16, Taylor said.

The jail contracts with a private company, St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services Inc., for inmate medical care, she said. Taylor said any further comment would come from that company.

Susan Straub, spokeswoman for Mayor Jim Newberry, said CMS has not given city officials a reason for Bowen's resignation or dismissal. Bowen worked for CMS, not the city.

Open records requests sent to the detention center for a jail-maintained personnel file for Bowen and any internal memos regarding his termination of employment were declined because no documents matched that description, according to a letter from James Kammer, assistant jail director.

Several more requests were pending Friday. Bowen could not immediately be reached for comment.

Ken Fields, a spokesman for CMS, issued a statement that said it was against company policy to comment on specific personnel matters.

Generally speaking, he said, the job of a health service administrator is to "deal with some of the administrative tasks such as staffing or providing care."

Fields said CMS regularly evaluates its staff and the needs of inmate patients, many of whom never receive health care until becoming incarcerated.

"As part of that, certainly, we always look to see if there are areas where services can be optimized and adjustments made," Fields said.

Two CMS employees at the Fayette County jail are the subject of an investigation by the state board of nursing after the death of an inmate, Dean Ferguson.

Ferguson's sister Lisa Day filed complaints against nurses Karen Hodge and Stephanie Travis after Ferguson died of a pulmonary embolism July 10.

The complaints say that during a 12-hour period on jail surveillance video, starting July 9, Ferguson is seen breathing heavily and collapsing. The complaint says "both nurses observed his condition and refused to provide medical care."

Nathan Goldman, general counsel at the state board of nursing, said that if the nurses are found to have been negligent, consequences could range from reprimands to suspension of their nursing licenses.

Travis, reached by phone at the jail Friday, said she did not wish to comment on the investigation. She also said she did not know why Bowen was no longer working at the jail.

She said any comment would come from her supervisor, Erika Burnside, who declined comment about Bowen's release when reached by phone last week.

The Fayette County jail, off Old Frankfort Pike, has a capacity of 1,280 inmates.