Audit: Mismanagement Rampant in Prison Health Care
The California prison health care system has "no clear policies" for overseeing billing and contracting for medical services, which has cost the state millions of dollars more than other entities for the same services, according to an audit released Wednesday, the San Jose Mercury News reports (Zapler, San Jose Mercury News, 8/3).
Prison health care spending increased by 437% between 2001 and 2006, from $153 million to $821 million.
Controller Steve Westly ordered the audit in April after it was reported that the corrections department was $58 million behind in payments for contracted medical services (Thompson, AP/San Diego Union-Tribune, 8/3).
Westly said the audit shows a "pattern of consistent mismanagement and a lack of internal financial controls" (San Jose Mercury News, 8/3).
Westly also said he will ask the state attorney general to consider filing criminal charges against several doctors and others who were improperly paid for procedures and services detailed in the audit. The attorney general's office said it will review the audit (AP/San Diego Union-Tribune, 8/3).
Terry Thornton, a spokesperson for the corrections department, said the problems detailed in the audit, such as the rules for contracting for medical services and hiring physicians, affect several state agencies. Thornton said, "We agree there have been deficiencies. That's why we welcome the involvement of the receiver so we can fix all this" (San Jose Mercury News, 8/3).
Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" on Thursday reported on the audit. The segment includes comments from Robert Sillen, the federal receiver overseeing prison health care system reforms (Russ, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 8/3).
The complete transcript and audio in Windows Media of the segment are available online.