Second California Prison Gets Failing Grade for Health Services
On Friday, the California Office of the Inspector General said medical services at North Kern State Prison are inadequate, making it the second prison facility this year to receive a failing grade for health care from OIG, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports (AP/Sacramento Bee, 10/23).
In 2006, U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson ruled that federal oversight of the state's prison health care system was needed after determining that an average of one inmate per week died as a result of medical malpractice or neglect.
So far this year, the California inspector general has given passing grades to medical programs at three correctional facilities:
- The California Rehabilitation Center in Norco, which passed in July;
- The Correctional Training Facility in Soledad, which passed in June; and
- Folsom State Prison, which passed in April.
However, a state Office of the Inspector General report in August found that medical services at the California Correctional Center were "inadequate," marking a setback in the state's efforts to regain control of its prison health care system (California Healthline, 8/25).
Details of Medical Care at North Kern State Prison
North Kern State Prison houses about 4,300 prisoners, including medium and minimum security inmates (AP/Sacramento Bee, 10/23).
For the review, clinicians examined 1,265 patient-care events at the prison.
OIG said Kern was proficient for four metrics:
- Access to care;
- Diagnostic services;
- Pharmacy and medication management; and
- Specialized medical housing.
Meanwhile, the prison was rated as inadequate for:
- Health information management;
- Health care environment;
- Reception center arrivals; and
- Internal monitoring of quality improvement and administrative operations.
OIG identified "[h]ealth care staff, especially the providers ... as the primary weakness of the institution." The review noted, "Despite many adequately functioning processes for this health care system, patients did not receive the needed medical care, as provider and nursing assessments and decisions were inadequate."
OIG said, "Improved staff performance would have changed the overall rating for [Kern] to adequate" (OIG report, 10/23).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.