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Calif. prison system opens $839M LTC facility for inmates

June 26, 2013
by Pamela Tabar, Editor-in-Chief
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[Photo: California Health Care Facility]

A massive new prison medical facility opened this week to provide long-term care to ill and aging inmates across the California penal system. The California Correctional Health Care Facility in Stockton, Calif., which spans 200 acres and entirely surrounded by secure fencing and guard towers, is the largest prison medical facility in the country, to date.

The new healthcare complex will provide long-term care to 1,700 of the state’s inmates, including units for 24-hour skilled nursing care and 750 cell-beds for inmates who need long-term treatment for serious mental illnesses. Consolidation of the prison system’s LTC services in one complex will allow caregivers to deliver higher quality care through more efficient processes, notes an article in The (Vacaville, Calif.) Reporter.

The medical complex was constructed with a unique combination of high-tech and high-security—the walls of patient housing cells are outfitted with connectivity for medical equipment and health technologies. Buildings contain emergency treatment rooms, procedure rooms, a dialysis treatment center, dental services, a library and secured staff areas. [photo gallery, Stockton News10-TV]

Prison authorities held the dedication ceremony Tuesday amid longstanding accusations of poor healthcare delivery and overcrowding within the state prison system’s health facilities. In the past, inmates who needed long-term care often were placed in critical care beds, forcing prisons to outsource care for other inmates to local hospitals outside the fences—to the tune of $2,000 a day, according to a 2012 Southern California Public Radio story.

The facility’s first inmates are scheduled to arrive in a few weeks.

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