State Prisons Must Meet Health Licensing Standards Within One Year, Judge Rules
A San Francisco Superior Court judge on Tuesday ruled that the Department of Corrections has illegally operated prison infirmaries without state health licenses and ordered the department to set a timetable to bring its facilities up to licensing standards, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/8). In March 2001, an advocacy group for prisoners filed a lawsuit alleging that only five of the state's 33 prisons have licensed medical facilities as required by a 1996 state law that mandates standards of care in areas including staffing levels, nursing care, physical facilities and medication procedures (California Healthline, 3/15/01). Under the law, prisons cannot provide inpatient care at unlicensed facilities and must instead send inmates to outside hospitals, the Chronicle reports. While state officials "expressed willingness" to meet a one-year deadline for improvements, corrections department administrators have said full licensing will not be possible for three years, according to lawyers for the prison inmates (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/8).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.