PRISONS: Federal Judge Leaves Health Care Suit Open for Trial
U.S. District Judge William Shubb refused to dismiss a five-year-old medical care lawsuit against two California women's prisons. The judge cited one item "concerning what information should be provided on a classification form" as his reason for not dismissing the suit. The state Department of Corrections had hoped that Shubb would dismiss the case, on the grounds that the state has improved medical care and undergone regular monitoring by an outside consultant, as required by conditions in a 1997 settlement. But lawyers from Legal Services for Prisoners with Children charge that while improvements have been made at Chowchilla's Central California Women's Facility and Corona's California Institution for Women, inmates still receive "substandard care." Cassie Pierson of Legal Services said, "The policy might be on paper, but when it comes to actual practice, that policy is not carried out." She noted that many women still do not receive preventive care such as pap smears and mammograms. Department of Corrections spokesperson Bob Martinez countered that the state "is providing good medical care." He said, "We absolutely do believe we are in compliance and continue to be." Martinez added that the form information issue was settled in December and that it is "unfortunate that this technicality arose" (AP/San Diego Union- Tribune, 2/1).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.