Consultants Recommend Creation of Specialized Prison Health Division
Consultants hired by a federalÂ receiver overseeing California's prison health care system released a report recommending that the state develop a specialized division to handle inmate health care, the Los Angeles Times reports (St. John, Los Angeles Times, 4/2).
In 2006, U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson ruled that federal oversight of the state's prison health care system was neededÂ after determining that an average of one inmate per week died as a result of medical malpractice or neglect (California Healthline, 4/2).
In January, Gov. Jerry Brown's (D) administration filed a request for a federal court to allow the state to regain oversight of the prison system.
The request stated that California has reduced its inmate population and improved prison medical and mental health care.
However, a report issued in January by Special Master Matthew Lopes said Brown's request to end federal oversight of the state prison system was premature (California Healthline, 3/27).
Details of Report
The report recommended that the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation create an Undersecretary of Health Care that would oversee an inmate health care division.
It also recommended that California maximize the amount of federal funding it receives for prisoner health care under theÂ coming Medi-Cal expansion and seek federal matching funds for inmate hospitalization. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
According to the report, state officials also should prepare for possible shortages of prison psychiatrists and other mental health workers as health coverage expands to more residents under the Affordable Care ActIn addition, the report recommended that prison health officials increase their use of telehealth technology so that physicians can use video links to consult with inmates in remote prisons (Los Angeles Times, 4/2). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.