State Ordered To Pay Prison Doctors
A federal judge on Thursday ordered managers of the state prison health care system to pay outstanding doctor bills totaling more than $58 million within two months, the Los Angeles Times reports.
U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson, who placed the prison health system in federal receivership last year, also ordered the state to reform its contracting procedures and hire and train analysts to monitor contracts to ensure timely patients to doctors.
Some doctors who treat inmates have not been paid in four years. Some doctors' contracts have expired, and some doctors who provide specialized medical care no longer respond to calls from the prisons, according to the Times.
Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Health Care Chief Peter Farber-Szekrenyi said officials had been working to "streamline" the contracting process and payments for the past six months. He added that he will work with receiver Robert Sillen to comply with the order.
Also on Thursday, State Controller Steve Westly (D) said his office will audit the corrections department. The audit will examine the quality of health care at prisons despite a doubling of funding since 2000 (Warren, Los Angeles Times, 3/31).
In other prison health care news, the corrections department on Thursday submitted a letter to the Legislature seeking $37.8 million to begin plans to expand mental health services at state prisons, the Sacramento Bee reports. The project -- which is expected to cost $593 million over five years and add space for as many as 700 additional beds for psychiatric treatment -- is partially in response to a 1995 federal court order to upgrade mental health services at California prisons (Carreon, Sacramento Bee, 3/31).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.