A detailed inspection of Maricopa County’s jail health-care system shows widespread record-keeping problems and other flaws that one expert said could pose risks to patients’ safety and open up taxpayers to liability, reports the Arizona Republic. County officials said they are addressing the issues. “Care suffers if the records suffer,” said Jacqueline Moore, a national expert in correctional health-care administration. “It’s not just paperwork: It’s that paperwork that goes to court when there is litigation, and if that paperwork is not filed, or absent or is incomplete, then the county is in a weak position.”
The 56-page report is the public’s first comprehensive look at an independent review of the system. Among the problems found by Georgia-based CorrectHealth, a for-profit consultant group that specializes in correctional health: Mental-health staff told auditors that medical records often are not available for patient appointments. Staff often released inmates with conditions that required continued care or medication without documentation for referrals or patient education about their conditions. The report shows the contrasting approach health-care providers and deputies have toward inmates on restraint use. The report highlighted an incident in which a physician ordered forced medication for an inmate, but would not order restraints.