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Correctional Healthcare

Everything to Know About Correctional Healthcare

By April 29, 2024No Comments

Centurion Health Is Dedicated to Correctional Healthcare

Centurion Health is a leading national provider of medical, dental, behavioral health, and rehabilitative services to incarcerated and justice-involved persons. Our services go beyond patient care, helping advance the potential of the people we serve.

What is correctional healthcare?

Correctional healthcare is the service provided for the health and well-being of persons in the justice system. More than 1 million persons are presently incarcerated in the US, and more than 95% will return to the community. Healthcare is critical to their rehabilitation.

Who provides healthcare in prisons and jails?

Services are delivered by licensed healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurses, dental professionals, mental health clinicians, and many other healthcare disciplines. Centurion has approximately 8,000 healthcare professionals serving the needs of incarcerated persons.

How do inmates access medical care?

Incarcerated persons are medically evaluated upon arrival and can request or be referred to medical services at any time. Medical clinics are established and staffed on site, and networks of specialists and inpatient hospitals and clinics in the community are also used as needed.

What types of medical conditions are treated in prisons?

Prisons and jails provide medical care for a wide range of both acute and chronic medical, dental, and mental health conditions, similar to those treated in the general population, but often exacerbated by substance abuse and lack of treatment prior to incarceration.

Do inmates receive the same level of healthcare as those outside of prison?

Correctional facilities are held to high standards for healthcare services similar to standards found in the community, and many facilities undergo certification/accreditation specific to the quality and sufficiency of healthcare services.

How is mental health addressed in correctional healthcare?

Mental illness is prevalent among incarcerated persons. Licensed mental health professionals play an important role in the healthcare and rehabilitative services provided to incarcerated persons, as well their successful return to the community.

Are there challenges to delivering healthcare in prisons?

Correctional facilities are challenging environments. Healthcare services are often delivered in special clinic areas, medical infirmaries, and specialized housing units, as well as in the general housing areas. Security protocols and personnel ensure staff safety.

How are infectious diseases managed in correctional facilities?

Infection control is important in correctional settings and is managed by teams of dedicated infection control specialists who promote prevention strategies and collaborate with public health agencies. Special housing and treatment environments are available for quarantine and isolation.

What happens to inmates with serious medical conditions?

Patients with serious medical conditions receive individualized care according to their needs.

Services depend upon the level of care needed and may involve housing in special healthcare units, emergency room visits, or hospitalization in the community.

Are there programs to address substance use in prisons?

Yes, services mirror those in the community and often include detox, special housing for residential programs, individual and group therapy services, and medication assisted treatment for opioid dependency, with an emphasis on reentry planning to mitigate relapse.

What is the role of reentry programs in correctional healthcare?

Reentry programs play a vital role in the successful transition of incarcerated individuals back into the community. Healthcare professionals play a vital role in teaching self-care and coordination of continued services in the community after release to ensure success.

How is patient confidentiality maintained in a prison setting?

Correctional facilities are held to the same high standards for confidentiality and privacy related to healthcare services. The rules and regulations stemming from the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) apply.

Are there ethical considerations in correctional healthcare?

Correctional healthcare providers must act to prevent harm and merit trust among all patients. They must respect human dignity while ensuring autonomy in their decisions about incarcerated patients. Informed consent and confidentiality are also at the forefront of all ethical considerations.

What are the legal rights of inmates regarding healthcare?

By law, prisoners have legal rights to access healthcare, including informed consent and medical records. The Supreme Court ruling in Estelle v. Gamble states that ignoring a prisoner’s medical needs amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, thus violating the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.

How can the healthcare community and society support better prison healthcare?

Get involved. Improving prison healthcare is key to breaking the cycle of recidivism and high incarceration rates in the US. Healthcare professionals of all fields are encouraged to take the time to learn more about how correctional healthcare goes beyond patient care, and impacts us all.