Prison Health Care

CCHCS 2019 Year in Review

Health care remains a strong priority across the state’s 35 institutions, and in 2019, CDCR and CCHCS continued to improve the level of care for inmates in their care. From an improved response to medical emergencies to a new focus on treating substance use disorders, the mission of rehabilitation in California correctional facilities made great strides to wrap up the decade

Prison medical staff huddle around a person on the ground while a correctional officer watches.
Staff at CSP-Sacramento take part in an emergency medical response training exercise in September — the culmination of months of training.

Expanded Emergency Medical Response training

Emergency Medical Response training began in a statewide roll-out in March. The program provides staff with the knowledge, skills and equipment needed to appropriately manage and handle medical alarm activations within our institutions. Six months after an institution completes the extensive training, they are put through a drill. None was bigger than the one at CSP-Sacramento where dozens of volunteers participated in a scenario to test both the custody and medical staffs. Three separate incidents over the course of an hour tested their resources and response. But the training paid off and the staff handled the mass casualty incident drill well.

Hundreds of people pose for a photo at the Correctional Training Center in Galt.
Hundreds of ambassadors from institutions across the state learned the benefits of the new ISUDT program. These employees will help spread the word about the new program during its 2020 roll-out.

Integrated Substance Use Disorder Treatment Program takes root

As part of a new treatment focus backed by the governor’s office, important groundwork was laid for the Integrated Substance Use Disorder Treatment program. Substance use disorders are a rapidly growing concern in the state and California institutions. The expanded focus on medication-assisted treatment is an important reminder of the “R” in CDCR and our duty to rehabilitate inmates in our care. The ISUDT ambassadors program will assist institutions in this important initiative.

New data-driven methods improve liver disease treatment

An expanded Hepatitis C treatment program reached thousands more patients in an effort to curb liver disease in California prisons. More than 7,600 patients in fiscal year 2018-19 were proactively treated thanks to a new, decentralized plan that focuses on specialized, data-driven treatment plans. The focus on efficiency will not only curb liver disease in the state’s institutions, but also public care costs for inmates who are released when they’ve served their sentence.

Group of eight people stand next to a poster for achieving accreditation at California Institution for Women.
More than two years of hard work and training culminated in CIW earning a prestigious recognition and setting a standard for other institutions to follow.

California Institution for Women earns Joint Commission accreditation

The California Institution for Women (CIW) set a new standard as the first institution to achieve Joint Commission Accreditation in Ambulatory Care, Behavioral Health Care and Nursing Care. Working with the Joint Commission Surveyors, the CIW team learned the Why and Process of what they were doing in order to meet standards to reduce harm and provide superior outcomes in patient care. Their years of hard work to reach this goal helps uncover what it would take to implement those standards at all adult institutions statewide.

Woman smiles while her arms are crossed.
Dr. Jenny Espinoza- Marcus will work with leaders from across the nation and collaborate on solutions for issues facing health care in CDCR institutions as well as other under-served populations in the state.

Dr. Jenny Espinoza honored by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Dr. Jenny Espinoza-Marcus, Chief of the CCHCS Educational Partnership Program, was selected to the Culture of Health Leaders Program through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Of the 795 applicants for the nationwide program, only 40 were selected. Dr. Espinoza’s work in the program will help raise awareness of the state’s correctional health care system as a potential career path for medical students and professionals.