Well being and Human Companies dept. to take oversight of well being care inside Utah prisons

Angelena Iglesia

A males’s most safety unit from a safety lookout within the new Utah State Jail in Salt Lake Metropolis is pictured on Oct. 21. The Utah Division of Corrections introduced Friday that the state Division of Well being and Human Companies will assume duty for well being care providers in Utah’s jail system starting July 2023. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret Information)

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SALT LAKE CITY — The Division of Well being and Human Companies will assume duty for well being care providers — together with medical, dental, optical, psychological well being and pharmacy — in Utah’s jail system starting July 2023.

The announcement was made Friday by the Utah Division of Corrections in an effort to “higher align governmental providers best-equipped to supervise them,” a information launch from the company says.

The transition was additionally introduced by Gov. Spencer Cox whereas releasing his proposed finances for the subsequent fiscal 12 months. The finances priorities included further funding for medical providers within the jail system, however that was topic to evaluation by the Utah State Legislature.

The transition will transfer duty away from the Medical Companies Bureau, a division of the Utah Division of Corrections to the Division of Well being and Human Companies. The approximate 200 staff within the Medical Companies Bureau will proceed to work for the state’s correction system, the discharge says.

The transition comes after a latest medicine disaster within the jail system following the switch of prisoners to the brand new state jail in Salt Lake Metropolis.

The issue regarded a prescription backlog that started when the division migrated its information to a brand new system referred to as Fusion. The backlog prompted a response from the Division of Well being and Human Companies, which supplied further employees members to navigate the issue.

“Making certain continued high-quality medical outcomes for sufferers in state custody must be essential to all of us, from a humanity perspective,” Cox mentioned. “All Utahns deserve the chance to reside protected and wholesome lives, and that doesn’t stop upon incarceration.”

The medicine disaster within the jail system and division response “created a possibility for dialogue round whether or not a group of individuals with such huge specialised medical data ought to oversee medical features on a day-to-day foundation,” the discharge states.

Along with the medicine disaster, a 2021 audit by the Workplace of the Legislative Auditor Common beneficial that the Utah jail system’s Medical Companies Bureau enhance systemic deficiencies. Among the many suggestions have been higher entry to medical care, prescriptions and psychological well being providers.

Whereas duty will transition between departments, all clinic employees will stay of their positions. Moreover, the companies will work to “guarantee there is no such thing as a interruption to providers supplied to Utahns experiencing incarceration throughout the coming months,” the discharge provides.

There are roughly 2,600 women and men incarcerated at Salt Lake’s Utah State Correctional Facility, 1,750 males on the Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison, and one other 1,500 women and men below state supervision assigned to numerous county jails.

“We’re so grateful to every of those ladies and men for performing one of many tougher and essential jobs in state authorities,” mentioned Division of Corrections govt director Brian Nielson within the launch. “Entry to high quality well being care and psychological well being providers performs a important position in bettering the lives of those ladies and men, and creating safer communities for all of us.”

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Ashley Fredde covers human providers and and girls’s points for KSL.com. She additionally enjoys reporting on arts, tradition and leisure information. She’s a graduate of the College of Arizona.

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