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Solano state prison is failed by examiners for poor healthcare

Solano State Prison

State inspectors say medical care at Solano State Prison remains poor after a decade of oversight by a court-appointed receiver.

(California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation)

State medical examiners have again failed a California prison for poor healthcare despite a decade of federal oversight, giving it lower scores than even two years earlier.

The report released Tuesday by the independent office of the inspector general faults California State Prison Solano, in Vacaville, for “inadequate” medical care, delays in seeing sick inmates and follow-up exams that came weeks or months late.

Two years earlier, the same agency had given the prison relatively high scores for medical care.

A spokeswoman for the federal receiver’s office, Joyce Hayhoe, said the inspections conducted in 2013 and those this year are “entirely different reviews-- apples and oranges.”

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The report itself notes that this time, in addition to a review of administrative systems, physicians and nurses hired by the agency pulled medical case files of 62 prisoners to examine the quality of the care they received.

Hayhoe said the inspection was conducted in June and July and Solano “has already addressed many of the concerns raised in the report." 

The report said two medical providers were responsible for a large number of the cases where poor care was found, and that they no longer work at the prison. One of those dismissed was an on-call doctor who sought to send an inmate with low blood pressure and a history of blackouts back to his cell with only a cursory exam. The prisoner ultimately required hospitalization. 

Another inmate, returned to the prison after hospitalization for congestive heart failure, failed to receive his prescribed medications or follow-up exams. The responsible pharmacist also is no longer employed at the prison, the report notes.

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Hayhoe said that in addition to replacing the doctor, the prison has “addressed issues such as cleanliness, timeliness of appointments, processing of paperwork, and legibility of documents." 

The patient case reviews were begun after the inspector general’s office repeatedly rated prison medical systems as meeting state standards, only for those prisons to fail subsequent reviews by the federal receiver’s experts.

California prison medical care was turned over to a federal receiver in 2005 after a federal judge ruled the state’s care was “broken beyond repair,” with scores of inmate deaths each year from preventable causes.

To date, only one of California’s 34 prisons has passed muster and its medical system returned to state control. That was Folsom State Prison. 

paige.stjohn@latimes.com

For more California corrections news, follow me at @paigestjohn on Twitter

For the latest on political coverage, go to www.latimes.com/politics.


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