Four years down the line, the health care settlement case of the Parson v. Ryan is still in court. Currently, the Arizona case was being handled by a second judge.
Judge David Duncan was originally overseeing the case. He has retired and appointed an independant monitor to track the progress of Arizona’s contract with Corizon Health, Inc., a private prison healthcare group.
Prison Healthcare: State of Arizona Fined $1.4 Million for Not Acting Fast Enough
The retired judge often raised concerns on the progress of the settlement process. According to Judge Duncan, the process lacked progress. He even went ahead and slammed the state with a fine of $1.4 million.
Duncan, in an order, appointed a monitor (an independent one) to oversee the prison healthcare process. This was after the judge realized that the State of Arizona was untrustworthy in monitoring the contract with Corizon.
State attorneys required the appointment of micro-managers to manage inmate healthcare services. This was aimed at altering the healthcare delivery in the Arizona prison system.
The state, in turn, gave the administrative burden to Corizon Health and the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC). Since they were handed the mantle, both have maintained that they are making significant progress.
Have Corizon Health & Arizona DOC Failed?
However, recent court filings prove that Corizon Health, along with the ADC, have failed to meet fundamental prison healthcare performance standards. According to Judge Duncan and hired independent court experts, understaffing is the main problem.
According to a report by The Advisory Board, a prison health care system evaluating firm, Corizon had understaffed healthcare facilities in prisons. The prison health care group also failed to keep the contracted positions staffed.
Officials of Corizon Health have admitted that the state prison clinics are understaffed.
Angela Fischer, a former Corizon Health employee, quit her job due to poor prison healthcare conditions. She says that the resources are limited.
This forced them to offer substandard services in an effort to reach as many inmates as possible who needed medical attention.
Grave Healthcare Issues in Arizona Prisons
Prisoners’ attorneys in Arizona say that there are still grave healthcare issues in the state’s facilities. Corene Kendrick, an attorney of the Prison Law Office, visited an inmate who was on suicide watch.
The inmate at Arizona State Prison Complex – Eyman suffered from severe paranoia and hallucinations. Kendrick reported that the inmate continued to wait for a free bed at Baker Ward. His healthcare needs were being neglected while in custody.
Kendrick’s case is one of the many cases like this. Another incidence involves an inmate who tried to drown herself in the toilet while under suicide watch. She was revived after undergoing a CPR for about 3 minutes.
According to Kendrick, underlying problems are still being encountered despite Corizon and ADC’s claims of improvement.