Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ninth Quarterly Report of the CA Prison Health Services Receiver is Out

As many readers may know, the CA prison health system, found unconstitutional by the court, is in the hands of a Federal Receiver, a position currently held by J. Clark Kelso. Here is some background from NPR (source of the image on the left), and here's is the Prison Law Office's digest of some cases, including Plata v. Schwarzenegger, which led to the receivership. A few days ago, the Ninth Quarterly report from the Receiver came out, detailing some of the steps taken to bring the health care system in prisons up to acceptable constitutional level.

The path toward changing the system is not an easy one; one of the main obstacles so far has been to procure the funds required to put the plan in action. It seems, however, that Kelso has a plan. Some of the highlights of the report:

Changes have been made to the original plan for chronic care.
* Efforts are made to speed up the development of medical emergency responses.
* A high percentage of nursing positions have been filled. There seems to be somewhat less success with physician positions, with some places, including San Quentin, having less than 69% of the positions filled.
* There is some development in creating a more robust peer review system for assessing allegations about quality.
* Pharmacy management has become more efficient; particular attention is being paid to cost elimination and efficiency.
* There is some progress on construction of the health facilities at San Quentin, although the clinics and warehouse have still not been completed.

More information about the Receiver's plans and achievements can be found here.

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