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Christiana Care to review health care in Delaware prisons

Christiana Care Health System is set to evaluate the health care provided in Delaware’s prison system.

The recently appointed commissioner of Delaware’s Department of Correction (DOC) Claire DeMatteis asked Christiana Care to conduct the independent review of the DOC’s medical and behavioral health services.

“Are we treating the medical needs of our offenders? Are we basing treatment on outcomes? Are we getting them healthier are we keeping them healthy? Are we preventing them from getting infectious diseases in the first place?” asked DeMatteis. “[Those] are the kind of clinical quality standards that Christiana Care will review.” 

The health system is planning a six-week review starting next month, concluding with a written report including recommendations. There will be no charge to the state.

Bettina Tweardy Riveros is Christiana Care's chief health equity officer and senior vice president for government affairs and community engagement. She is working with the clinical team on the new initiative. She says the team does not include experts on prison health care, but will concentrate on the clinical arena.

“We’ll be looking at care delivery structure and methods, some clinical workflow, how people are transferred for acute care, how medical staff take advantage of clinical data and analytics and clinical health records,” said Riveros. 

Riveros says Christiana Care clinicians will review DOC clinical policies and procedures. The health system is also planning interviews with DOC staff and medical personnel with the contracted provider Connections. 

Connections made news earlier this year when a News Journal investigation found one of its counsellors falsified documents after failing to provide adequate addiction counselling. A DOC spokesman said Connections contract is up next year.

The review comes as the DOC is making moves to expand its use of medication assisted treatment to care for inmates with substance abuse disorder.

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