Health care recievership updateDeveloped by the California Coalition for Women Prisoners in consultation with Prison Law Office.
• In June 2005 Judge Thelton Henderson declared that the state prison medical system was “terribly broken” and placed it in federal receivership. Henderson wrote “The harm already done in this case to California’s prison inmate population could not be more grave, and the threat of future injury and death is virtually guaranteed in the absence of drastic action”.
• Judge Henderson’s action was taken after reviewing changes mandated by the Plata law suit, filed by the Prison Law Office, and finding that changes were grossly inadequate.
• Once a Receiver is chosen, the CDC will no longer have control over the prison health care system. Until then the CDC maintains the current system although state corrections officials admit that the system is in “extreme crisis”.
• The court had hoped to quickly find an experienced candidate to fill the position of Receiver, but in early November it hired a professional search firm, Korn Ferry International, in order to find a qualified person for this extremely difficult job.
• It could be sometime in the spring before the system in actually managed by a receiver.
• Judge Henderson has also appointed a consultant to prepare a report outlining ideas for addressing two of the most serious problems in the health care system: a growing number of staff vacancies for doctors, nurses and technicians; and the inadequacy of systems for reviewing the deaths of inmates under medical care and the number of serious injuries caused by poor care. In his order, Judge Henderson requested recommendations regarding interim solutions to staffing problems pending the appointment of the Receiver.
• The Prison Law Office will continue to monitor the new health care body, under the settlement of the Plata lawsuit, even after the Receiver takes over. This is paid for by the state.
• During this transition period, prisoners should continue filing 602’s when they have a grievance about the medical care they are receiving. They should proceed through the entire 602 process, up to Sacramento until they receive a notice from Sacramento that the 602 has been denied. At that point they should send a copy of the denial to CCWP or directly to the Prison Law Office.
• Under Plata MTA’s are not supposed to serve as gatekeepers. Please let CCWP or the Prison Law Office know of any instances when MTA’s are making decisions medical staff should be making.
• Language translation is available through AT&T telephone service which is contracted for by the CDC. Service is mandated when a translator is unavailable in any situation where the prisoner cannot communicate comfortably in English. Please let others know that this service is paid for by our tax dollars and should be asked for when needed!
Last updated December 29, 2005 11:46 PM