Weekly Update: December 6, 2022

COCHS Weekly Update: December 06, 2022

Highlighted Stories

HHS: HHS Proposes New Protections to Increase Care Coordination and Confidentiality for Patients With Substance Use Challenges
The U.S. Health and Human Services Department announced proposed changes to the Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Patient Records under 42 CFR part 2 (“Part 2”), which protects patient privacy and records concerning treatment related to substance use challenges from unauthorized disclosures. Specifically, today’s proposed rule increases coordination among providers in treatment for substance use challenges and increases protections for patients concerning records disclosure to avoid discrimination in treatment.

Epstein Becker Green: HHS Warns HIPAA Covered Entities and Business Associates That Use of Website Cookies, Pixels and Other Tracking Technology May Violate HIPAA Rules
On December 1, 2022, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a bulletin warning that commonly used website technologies, including cookies, pixels, and session replay, may result in the impermissible disclosure of Protected Health Information (“PHI”) to third parties in violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”).

Scientific American: The Opioid Epidemic Is Surging among Black People because of Unequal Access to Treatment
A million people in the U.S. have died of opioid overdoses since the 1990s. But the face—and race—of the opioid epidemic has changed in the past decade. Originally white and middle class, victims are now Black and brown people struggling with long-term addictions and too few resources. During 10 brutal years, opioid and stimulant deaths have increased 575 percent among Black Americans.

PEW: State Opioid Treatment Program Regulations Put Evidence-Based Care Out of Reach for Many
Opioid treatment programs (OTPs) are the only health care facilities that can offer patients all three forms of medication for opioid use disorder: methadone, buprenorphine, and injectable extended-release naltrexone. But too often, access to high quality OTP care is curtailed by federal and state rules that are not based in evidence. Pew reviewed OTP regulations across all 50 states and the District of Columbia as of June 2021 and found multiple barriers to services.

Politico: ‘A complete about face’: Some Republicans change tune on Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion
Democratic governors in North Carolina and Kansas are set to take another run at expanding Medicaid next year — believing that arguments in favor of the Obama-era health insurance program are wearing down once-steadfast Republican opposition. Neither governor will have an easy time: North Carolina lawmakers have come around to Medicaid expansion but can’t agree on a deal to enact it, while the GOP-led Kansas legislature remains skeptical.

Coconino County Arizona: Coconino County Signs Letter to Congress to Pass Behavioral and Mental Health Policies
In a letter to congressional leaders, the county officials wrote, “As a key intergovernmental partner, we urge you to work towards the passage of a bipartisan behavioral health package that enhances our ability to provide comprehensive behavioral health services in all settings, strengthens the behavioral health workforce and increases resident access to services.” County leaders outlined support for policies that would amend the Medicaid Inmate Exclusion Policy (MIEP) and repeal the Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion.

Yahoo: As police arrest more seniors, those with dementia face deadly consequences
As the U.S. population ages and more people develop dementia, older people are increasingly running into problems with the police. Any use of force or arrest can be devastating for someone who is already physically and mentally fragile. While many cities are changing how they respond to mental health calls – including whether police should be present at all – less attention has been paid to the unique risks in cases involving people with Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases.

Correctional Health Care

Carolina News & Report: New model for prison healthcare comes to rural S.C.
The Medical University of South Carolina was buying rural hospitals. Brian Sterling the head of the state’s prison system, wanted one of the hospitals to be used for inmates. In January, an abandoned wing of a Chester County hospital will open as South Carolina’s first inmate-only medical facility. Officials say it will open Jan. 1, with 36 beds for inmates with severe health conditions. There are 15,316 inmates in South Carolina.

Corrections 1: Iowa jail adding medical isolation cells with ARPA funds
The Linn County Jail will use $1.7 million in federal pandemic relief money to fund the creation of special cells designed to mitigate the spread of infectious diseases. The money was granted to the jail by the Linn County Board of Supervisors when it approved in October a second round of federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act. Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner said the 12 to 14 cells will be used to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infections, or for any other medical reason requiring an inmate to be isolated.

OJP: Defining Impact of Stress and Traumatic Events on Corrections Officers Competition
This report is a study aiming to understand and effectively reduce chronic stress among corrections officers. To accomplish this goal, this study had two inter-related objectives. Perform a prospective 18-month observational study of approximately 400 CO’s to relate their stress levels to a) correctional work-related contributors to stress and b) impacts of stress on work performance and economic costs.

Austin American-Statesman: Texas should end medical copays in its prisons
It costs $13.55 to visit a medical clinic in a Texas prison. That may sound cheap compared to the price of an office visit in most cities. But for those in prison, most of whom have no income, $13.55 can be unattainable. And by causing incarcerated people to delay seeking medical care, this copay may be contributing to the spread of COVID-19 and to higher death rates as well.

MD Linx: My patient is a prisoner
Caring for prisoners in a correctional facility can be a challenging—but ultimately educational and rewarding—experience. Many of the prisoners were funny, insightful, kind, and intelligent, and expressed gratitude for my taking the time to see them. But some patients were manipulative and angry. Often these patients had never seen a healthcare professional (HCP) or had health insurance. It was common to see long-standing conditions such as diabetes, infectious diseases such as HIV, mental health issues, and substance use disorders in the same patient.

Correctional Nurse: Evidence – Based Practice in Correctional Nursing – What’s Holding You Back?
According to a survey of US nurses, nurses overwhelmingly want an evidence-based practice (EBP). Although barriers to research utilization have not yet been investigated in the correctional nursing specialty, findings in other settings suggest a multitude of reasons. There may also be organizational and cultural barriers to EBP. Nurses working in correctional settings may have few knowledge resources such as access to medical libraries and online databases/articles, and may have few like-minded colleagues to engage in discussion and analysis of the evidence.

Voices Of The Incarcerated

Zocalo: How the Pandemic Changed My Time in Prison
Intense debates about the role of government interventions in public health became the norm during the pandemic. When do the benefits of prevention and containment policies aimed at stopping COVID’s spread outweigh the costs to individual rights? I watched these debates from behind prison walls, where the rights of inmates are secondary to safety concerns. Here inside Ironwood State Prison, like every other correctional facility in California, prisoners are afforded a narrow range of “rights,” which are mostly privileges that can be suspended to preserve institutional security.

Huron Daily Tribune: Appalachian prison book project seeks notebook donations
The Appalachian Prison Book Project, a Morgantown nonprofit group that provides free reading materials to inmates, is looking for donations as the holiday season arrives. Composition notebooks are in high demand. Also in demand are language, legal and medical dictionaries; thesauri; world almanacs; educational books; and foreign language learning materials. Books must be paperback and in good condition.

Violence In Corrections

Mississippi Today: Mississippi prison employees face federal indictment in inmate assault
A former corrections officer and case manager at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility have been indicted on a charge of using excessive force against a prisoner. A federal grand jury in the Southern District of Mississippi charged officer Jessica Hill and case manager Nicole Moore with deprivation of rights. On July 11, 2019 at the Pearl facility, the indictment alleges Hill struck an incarcerated person named L.C. with a pepper spray canister and punched the inmate, and Moore kicked L.C., who did not resist, resulting in bodily injury, according to court documents.

KOLD: Corrections officer choked by inmate at Pima County jail
An inmate in the Pima County jail is facing additional charges after he allegedly choked a 19-year-old corrections officer, causing her to lose consciousness, on Thursday morning, Dec. 1. Authorities said Friday the corrections officer and her partner were serving paperwork to an inmate, 31-year-old Brandon Rogers, when he attacked them. Rogers reportedly hit the corrections officer’s partner and she came to his aid. Sheriff Chris Nanos said Rogers put her in a headlock and strangled her.

Now 12: 5 Police Officers Charged After Man Was Paralyzed in Transport Van
Five Connecticut police officers turned themselves in and were charged with misdemeanors Monday over their alleged treatment of a Black man who became paralyzed while they transported him. The case has drawn comparisons to the 2015 death of Freddie Gray, who died while being transported in a law enforcement vehicle with no seat belt. In video footage, Cox can be seen and heard begging for help and saying he cannot move, only for the officers to mock him and ultimately drag him by his feet.

Sheriffs In the News

Daily Beast: Arkansas Sheriff Arrested on Drug and Gun Possession Charges
Johnson County Sheriff Jimmy Stephens was arrested at a traffic stop, according to Arkansas State Police spokesman Bill Sadler, where officers found multiple firearms and drugs. Sadler did not respond when asked what exact drugs or guns were for.

New York

NY Times: New York to Pay as Much as $300 Million for Release Delays at Rikers
New York City has agreed to pay as much as $300 million to settle a lawsuit filed on behalf of thousands of jailed people whose releases were delayed for hours or even days after they made bail, according to court records and a lawyer. The city will pay $3,500 to every detainee who claims that his or her release was delayed three hours or more, according to a copy of the agreement filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan.

NY Times: Widespread Racial Disparities in Discipline Found at N.Y. Prisons
A new report from the inspector general’s office has documented significant racial and ethnic disparities in discipline across New York State prisons, finding that over a six-year period, Black inmates were 22 percent more likely to be disciplined than white ones. The Times found that Black prisoners faced more punishment than white ones, leading to loss of privileges, longer stays in solitary confinement and, ultimately, more time behind bars.

syracuse.com: NY slams Onondaga County jail’s medical care of woman who died after hanging herself in cell
A state agency says the Onondaga County Justice Center’s medical staff failed to provide appropriate care to a 27-year-old woman who died last year after hanging herself in a jail cell. The state Commission of Correction says in a report Angela Peng was not seen by a medical provider at the jail even though she was going through opioid withdrawal.


Yahoo: Oklahoma County jail administrator Greg Williams expected to resign after troubled tenure
The administrator of the Oklahoma County jail is expected to resign, ending a troubled tenure marked by more than 35 inmate deaths, a hostage situation and failed heath inspections.

KFOR: ‘I don’t wanna die in here’: Current OK Co. Detention Center inmate claims bed bugs eating him alive, calling whole facility negligent
A current Oklahoma County Detention Center inmate has been behind bars for a total of 21 days now, but says he’s been having alarming medical issues that are a result of bed bug bites since day two. 45-year-old Jason Sheffield was booked into the detention center on November 10 on one count of aggravated trafficking in illegal drugs.

Criminal Justice's Detrimental Impact On Mental Health

AP: Appeals panel rules in favor of former Delaware inmate
A federal appeals court panel has ruled in favor of a former Delaware prison inmate who claimed he was deprived of his constitutional rights by being placed into solitary confinement for a long period despite his mental illness. According to court records, Clark, who was diagnosed with manic depression and paranoid schizophrenia, was housed in solitary confinement for fifteen days in 2015 and for seven months in 2016 before being moved to a psychiatric facility.

Mental Health Initiatives in Criminal Justice

Post & Courier: Berkeley County starts mental health pilot program for inmates
Berkeley County is taking steps to prioritize mental health by launching a new pilot program at the county detention center covering inmates with mental illnesses. The program is a partnership between the Hill-Finklea Detention Center and the Berkeley Community Mental Health Center and made possible by a $373,000 earmark from the state Legislature. It’s the first program in South Carolina to receive specifically designated state funds to follow inmates with mental illnesses from the time they enter the detention center to when they leave.

"Daily Item : Duties of correctional officers include mental health screening"
The duties of a correctional officer in modern times have evolved to essentially be a provider of mental health services, according to officials from Valley jails. It's a change that Northumberland County Jail Warden Tom Reisinger wasn't expecting when he started in the federal prison system more than 25 years ago. Reisinger said correctional officers have to be aware of the mental health of the inmates they're overseeing. Union County Warden Sam Kranzel had similar thoughts.

Daily Item: Former inmate talks about lifesaving recovery
The Northumberland County Drug Treatment Court is one of six treatment courts in Northumberland County. At the common pleas level, Northumberland County under Judge Robert B. Sacavage, established a drug treatment court in 2005, DUI and behavioral health were introduced soon after, veterans court was introduced in 2011 and family court was established in 2018. In 2016, the veteran treatment court was introduced at the magistrate level.


Global News Wire: CorrecTek Selects Draganfly’s Vital Intelligence Technology to Enhance its Corrections Health Records Management Platform
Draganfly drone solutions has announced that its Vital Intelligence Technology has been integrated with CorrecTek’s Corrections Management Platform. Draganfly’s Vital Intelligence Technology is designed to work both from Drones for public safety applications, and from other camera systems, to measure human vital signs in real-time. The Vital Intelligence Technology extracts data from camera feeds to measure human health parameters to enhance patient care and reduce staff workload by providing integration of information into the CorrecTek record for the benefit of the medical authority.

Correctional Health Care Vendors

HIT Consultant: PE Firms Rebrand Prison Healthcare Companies, But Care Issues Continue
Wellpath is owned by H.I.G. Capital, and is among the largest healthcare companies serving U.S. prisons and jails. Privatization and its attendant harms continue in other forms and places, such as within immigration facilities. Federal and state correctional authorities also continue to privatize specific services within facilities, such as phone services, commissary, and healthcare.

Yahoo: Vance jail close to getting new medical provider
County officials and the Vance County Sheriff's Office are on the verge of selecting a new contractor to provide health care services to prisoners in the county jail. The sheriff's office within the past two weeks "has agreed to contract" with Advanced Correctional Healthcare. Southern Health Partners, abruptly terminated its contract. Southern Health cited safety and liability concerns. Doctor, Demaura Russell, told her bosses the commander of the jail had "refused to carry out medical orders" after care providers had "attempted to send out a few inmates for necessary" services.

Bloomberg Law: Wellpath Ordered to Disclose Report About Inmate’s Suicide Death
A medical report that an Oregon county jail’s health-care provider was contractually obligated to make isn’t protected from discovery by a federal shield law. Wellpath LLC must disclose the report to an inmate’s estate in civil rights litigation stemming from her death because it’s not covered by the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act’s privilege for “patient safety work product,” the US District Court for the District of Oregon said. PSWP doesn’t include reports prepared for reasons other than submission to a patient safety organization to be studied for purposes of improving care, the court said.

KARE11: Troubled jail medical provider files for bankruptcy
MEnD Correctional Care, which provides care to more Minnesota jails than any other provider, filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday following years of inmate deaths under the company’s care. At its height, MEnD provided care to thousands of inmates in more than 40 jails in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois.