Union Files Lawsuit To Block New Requirements for Prison Doctors
The Union of American Physicians and Dentists on Friday filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent the Department of Corrections from implementing new minimum qualification standards for doctors who treat inmates, the AP/Washington Post reports. The corrections department has proposed requiring doctors who treat inmates to be certified in internal medicine or family practice, or pass a competency test.
However, the union, which represents prison doctors, stated in its lawsuit that such changes must be approved by the State Personnel Board. Currently, doctors and dentists who treat inmates only are required to be licensed in California.
In a statement, the union said the corrections department is trying to implement the qualification standards "to divert attention from its own execrable management spanning two decades," adding that he department "is doing its best to blame prison doctors for its own failures."
Corrections department spokesperson Todd Slosek said a court order requires the department to ensure that doctors provide adequate medical care. He said, "The evaluation is designed to ensure that the department has competent physicians that can provide a constitutional level of care to the inmate population" (Thompson, AP/Washington Post, 5/3).