----- Original Message ----- 
Sent: Tuesday, February 18, 2003 10:13 PM
Subject: More bad news

More bad news 

Another prison cited for dangerous health care 


   Under siege by federal and state courts and facing debilitating budget and crowding crises, the last thing prison officials need is more bad news. They got it anyway. 

A medical consultant that audited the care provided at state prisons has issued a damning report about "dangerous and extremely poor quality
health care" at yet another state lockup Limestone Correctional Facility at Capshaw. 

Based on its visits last October and November, the Chicago-based Jacqueline Moore and Associates said the death rate from AIDS at Limestone is more than twice the national average in prisons and that Limestone fell short both in trying to control infectious and communicable diseases and monitoring and reporting them. 

What makes the report doubly painful is that Limestone is where most of the state's inmates with AIDS are confined. Poor care and lack of adequate safeguards are inexcusable in such an environment. 

The company that provides medical services to the state prisons, NaphCare of Birmingham, says the report's findings are misleading. But clearly the report warrants the immediate attention of Gov. Bob Riley and new prisons Commissioner Donal Campbell. 

Other findings in the report: 

The AIDS dorm is an old warehouse with leaky ceilings and double bunks so close together that they foster infections among AIDS-infected

Chronic-care inmates can go as long as seven or eight months without seeing a doctor, and diabetes patients get only monthly rather than daily blood sugar tests. (The report said at least one death was attributed to dehydration and a lack of insulin.) 

One inmate had a hernia for four months the size of a grapefruit before he had surgery, and another "complained of stomach pain for four months before a barium swallow was performed." 

An audit by the same consultant at the Tutwiler prison for women found similarly poor medical care there. 

This is a grave matter. A prison system spokesman said NaphCare had been asked to correct the deficiencies in care under the terms of its contract. With prisons' crowding and budget problems, it's not clear how much NaphCare can do to fix the problems. Prisons are in a crisis that can be resolved only by the governor and Legislature finding more money. 

But that shouldn't be news to them.