The Road to National Accreditation for Correctional Healthcare
Prior to 1970
Healthcare inside prison walls was minimal. Few prison systems had trained healthcare professionals or adequate facilities.
During the 1970's
Advocate groups began to take action in support of inmate rights and correctional healthcare reform.
Estelle vs. Gamble
1975 case ruled that inmates had a constitutional right to medical care.
Initiated by the ABA and AMA, developed a set of standards for correctional healthcare and a voluntary accreditation program for jails nationwide.
The National Commission on Correctional Healthcare (NCCHC) established. Offers voluntary accreditation to prisons, jails and juvenile facilities. The American Correctional Association (ACA) and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) join the NCCHC in offering accreditation of correctional facilities.
Prison healthcare 2010
The typical prison clinic has a trauma room, exam rooms, a laboratory, a radiological suite, a pharmacy or medication room, and dental facilities. There are also administrative areas and space for meetings or counseling.
These correctional health facilities are staffed with experienced and licensed physicians, dentists, nurses and other health specialists. Many of the contract physicians are also Board-certified in a relevant specialty. These professionals enjoy specialized correctional training and fully equipped clinic facilities. To make their jobs easier, the administrative processes have been streamlined with everything from "Fax and Fill" medication to electronic recordkeeping.
The complex health issues of the inmate population such as mental illness, substance abuse, and communicable diseases remain correctional healthcare's greatest challenge. Yet correctional healthcare is making improvements in these areas as well, especially in behavioral health. From on-site behavioral health services to programs that focus on transitioning offenders to community health services upon release, there is an increasing commitment to addressing the widespread behavioral health challenges.
Medicine and Dentistry
Our clients continue to seek highly skilled, leading-edge practitioners to join our strong national correctional medicine and dental teams. Correctional Health Care is one of the most unique specialties in health care and is considered a part of the public health continuum. Many of our nation’s offenders, housed in prisons and jails across the county, are in need of medical and dental attention – many have never before received medical or dental care. Practitioners have the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on the quality of life for many people through their work with offenders.
Safe, Secure, State-of-the Art
Prison systems provide health care services to male and female inmates and youthful offenders, housed in local jails, detention facilities, and correctional institutions around the country. Depending on the type of correctional facility, the length of stay of patients the medical, mental health, and dental staff will encounter ranges from a few hours to several years. This provides special opportunities to health care providers who choose to work in corrections.
Practitioners are afforded a high degree of autonomy to exercise initiative and independent judgment regarding inmate care. For a physician, typical duties are likened to a family pratitioner in a clinic setting. It's abulatory care, with serious cases 911ed out. Some positions include minor surgery. For dentists, typical duties include diagnosis and treatment of disease, injury, and malformation of teeth, gums and related oral structures. Common procedures include extractions, fillings, restorations, partials, root canals and crowns. Practitioners assure that appropriate care is accessible and provided to the inmate population in a timely fashion. They also provide emergency care, preventive healthcare, and inmate education regarding health care issues.
A career in correctional care provides relief from many of the hassles of private practice such as collecting fees, insurance, staff problems, constant production pressure and other concerns. In addition, Camden, or our clients, provide malpractice insurance for health care staff and offer flexible hours and, in some cases, continuing education classes and credits. Physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, nurses, and mental health providers work together in true interdisciplinary care teams.
Corrections is a career path less traveled, but one that in fact, offers professional growth opportunities equal to, and in many cases above and beyond traditional community care settings. Unlike the stereotype of movie prisons, the facilities are modern, clean, and safe. In fact, there are few health care environments safer. Correctional officers are present in every treatment situation, and all care is performed in the most secure areas.
Orientation and Training
New to correctional health care? Practitioners find that their skills transfer to the correctional facility environment, which offers the opportunity to use many skills not utilized in the community setting. Many of our clients offer complete and specific training and orientation program, so that you will enter this specialty with confidence.
If you are seeking a truly rewarding career in which you make a difference in the health of those in need, the correctional medicine team is the place for you. If you would like to talk to a few of our doctors currently working in correctional care, please give us a call at 877-266-3335 ext 2#.