Ventura County Inmates Receive Good Care, Grand Jury Report Finds
Inmates at Ventura County's three jails receive health care that is "first-rate" and "beyond what is required under state law," according to a final report released Tuesday by the 2003-2004 Ventura County Grand Jury, the Ventura County Star reports. State law requires that local detention facilities provide basic and emergency dental, medical and mental health services. The grand jury's nine-month investigation examined health care services provided by not-for-profit California Forensics Medical Group, which has a $4.8 million contract with the Ventura County Sheriff's Department to care for about 1,500 inmates. Monterey-based California Forensic, which is accredited by the Institute of Medical Quality, has held the contract since 1987.
Members of the grand jury visited the county's three jails to inspect medical facilities and interview nurses and other health providers employed by California Forensic. The grand jury also spoke to deputies about two suicides and one fatal heart attack that occurred during the jury's term, but determined that the incidents were "unavoidable," the Star reports. The report also found that health care services provided by California Forensic are beyond state requirements and Institute of Medical Quality standards. The report "is indicative of the high level of service that we provide," Elaine Hustedt, vice president of California Forensics, said, adding, "We work really hard to accomplish that." Steve DeCesari, commander of Ventura's Pre-trial Detention Facility, said, "We think it's a very good report. We are getting the best service we can get from California Forensics Medical Group" (Moore, Ventura County Star, 6/9).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.