An independent audit says Michigan’s $300-million-a-year prison health care system is fractured and inefficient, leading to unnecessarily high costs, impeding inmate access and diminishing the quality of care, reports the Detroit News. The state needs to reorganize prison health care services, retrain staff, practice more preventive care, fix its electronic medical records system and hold medical providers more accountable for the services they provide, said a 131-page report compiled after a year-long review by the Chicago-based National Commission on Correctional Health Care.
“Most of the problems we identified were attributable to system failures, rather than to individuals not doing their jobs,” the $400,000 report determined. “We believe the most pressing problem for the Michigan Department of Corrections is to address the lack of medical service provider coverage and their generally low productivity. Until this occurs, access to care, quality of care and health care staff morale will continue to suffer.” State corrections officials said they agree with the report’s findings and added the department’s own health care improvement team is implementing many of the commission’s 56 recommendations.