California’s prison health care czar, Robert Sillen, says he will fix a “horrid” system that is in “an utter state of disrepair,” says the Sacramento Bee. Robert Sillen, the court-appointed prison health care receiver, said he’s willing to raid the state treasury if need be, waive whatever civil service protections and state laws that get in his way and seek contempt-of-court citations against any state employee who tries to thwart his efforts to overhaul the $1.5 billion prison medical system.
Sillen said 65 inmates die needlessly in the prison system every year. “Those are inmates who perished because of either lack of access to care or, more horrifically, access to care,” Sillen said. Oscar Hidalgo, the prison system’s communications director, said the problems in California’s correctional health care are decades in the making and “will take time to correct.” Sillen is prepared to seek court authority to circumvent civil service rules, the State Personnel Board, and union contracts to get rid of incompetent doctors who administrators have failed to successfully fire. “People are being reinstated who never should be practicing,” Sillen said. “I won’t have it.”