Contra Costa County To Install Drug Robots in Jails
Contra Costa County is installing pharmaceutical robots in three county jails, which officials say could improve medication safety, the Contra Costa Times reports. The devices should save the county $1 million annually in wasted medication and labor costs, Miles Kramer, director of jail services, said.
The county is leasing three Omnicell SafetyPak devices for $5,000 a month. After a pharmacist fills a prescription, the medication is placed in the SafetyPak, which automatically packages doses and uses bar codes to make sure that each patient gets the correct medications. A staff member then distributes the medication to the patient.
Kramer said that there will be one central jail pharmacy at the jail in Martinez, once the devices are installed. As a result, about 11 nurses' weekly hours could decrease from 40 to 32, and the county also might lay off the jails' pharmacist. The SafetyPaks could be installed as early as this week, the Times reports (Miranda, Contra Costa Times, 3/17).