UNM Hospital Provides Medical Services at MDC

Bernalillo County – As of July 26, 2023, UNM Hospital is the new health care provider at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Bernalillo County. 

UNM Hospital is now responsible for providing medical, dental and behavioral health services to MDC inmates. 

A new partnership between Bernalillo County and UNM Hospital, known as the MDC Health Care Authority, is responsible for these health services.

The county, through the MDC Health Care Authority, negotiated a 4-year $20.2 million per year contract with UNM Hospital, to provide these services. The agreement increased the number of full time medical employees at MDC from 106 to 123.

“Bernalillo County is immensely grateful for the opportunity to broaden our partnership with UNM Hospital,” said Bernalillo County Manager Julie Morgas Baca. “In just one short week, Metropolitan Detention Center employees and UNM Hospital staff have joined together, in a unified effort, to find new and innovative ways to treat inmates and improve health care outcomes. The passion and energy UNM Hospital staff provide is reverberating across MDC, and we look forward to the opportunity to continue to grow together, in our shared goal, of providing comprehensive and compassionate care to each and every inmate entrusted to us.” 

UNM Hospital replaced YesCare, also known as Corizon, a private correctional health care company.  In 2022, the Bernalillo County Commission voted to end its contract with Corizon/YesCare effective July 25, 2023. 

Once the partnership was agreed upon, UNM Hospital began an aggressive recruitment campaign that included a hiring fair to ensure MDC was staffed with the appropriate health care providers to meet the needs of MDC inmates.

“We know that access to health care across the nation is very challenging right now,” said UNM Hospital CEO Kate Becker.  “We also know that health care provided in a correctional setting can be particularly challenging. We are committed to working with Bernalillo County, the warden, and the staff at MDC to meet these challenges. Change does not happen overnight, but we are aligned on the work ahead and look forward to continuing improvements.”


Change does not happen overnight, but we are aligned on the work ahead and look forward to continuing improvements.
Kate Becker, UNM Hospital CEO

UNM Hospital medical staff are prepared to provide a variety of services to a population that changes quickly with inmates entering and exiting the facility each day.  Behavioral health staff are prepared to provide services to a population that has about a 50% rate of some type of existing behavioral health diagnoses with approximately 80-120 inmates detoxing per day.

In preparation for this transition, UNM Hospital and Bernalillo County jointly worked to ensure accrediting body policies and procedures were in place; contracts for pharmacy, lab, and supply chain services were completed; and information technology was in place so that the electronic medical records of inmates can easily be accessed during their incarceration and upon release. 


About MDC:

MDC opened in 2003 as a joint county/city facility, but has been operated solely by Bernalillo County since 2006.  The 600,000 square foot facility houses a maximum of 1,950 inmates. 

About UNM Hospital:

The origin of UNM Hospital dates back to 1952 when Bernalillo County and the Bureau of Indian Affairs entered into an agreement to build a hospital that would serve the health care needs of residents of the county and the Native American population in the surrounding region. In 1969, the University of New Mexico assumed operations transforming it into a teaching hospital for the UNM School of Medicine. Today, UNM Hospital is New Mexico’s only Level-I Trauma Center, contains the state’s only dedicated Children’s Hospital and serves the health care needs of any New Mexican, whether they have the ability to pay or not. 

Categories: Community Engagement, UNM Hospital