Official: Nevada Prison Had Health Care Problem

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Medical care of inmates at the state women's prison in North Las Vegas is substandard, the medical director for the Nevada Department of Corrections says.

Dr. Ted D'Amico told a legislative subcommittee that personnel working for the Corrections Corp. of America "have struggled from Day 1" to provide health care for inmates at the Southern Nevada Women's Correctional Facility.

The corporation has the contract to operate the prison, but wants the state to take over medical care immediately. CCA also has served notice it is pulling out of its contract to run the prison on Oct. 1.

D'Amico, who supervises the medical staffs at other Nevada prisons, told the subcommittee on Wednesday that CCA is behind in dental care and mental health care at the prison "is in shambles," with half the inmates taking psychotropic drugs.

CCA has an excellent medical director now, but the corporation remains convinced that the state can provide better care for the women, D'Amico said, adding that he agrees because "they don't know how to run a medical program."

The prison presented a plan to the Legislative Interim Finance Committee in January to take over the medical care for the women inmates. The state now pays CCA $47.29 per inmate a day to house and care for the inmates. CCA would return $14.71 per inmate to the state to provide the medical care for the rest of this fiscal year.

The finance committee delayed action in January, saying it wanted to get better cost estimates on what CCA was paying for care.

The issue of the state takeover of the medical care will be discussed by the Interim Finance Committee on June 16.

The state has put out requests for proposals from private companies to replace CCA on Oct. 1. The prison also is putting together a plan to see how it could measure up against the private companies. Bids from the private companies are due May 4.