Audit faults Massachusetts’ inmate health care process


BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts prison system is not providing inmates with health care in a timely manner, according to an audit by the office of state Auditor Suzanne Bump.

Inmate requests for health care must be reviewed within 24 hours, or 72 hours on weekends, and inmates should be seen by a health care professional within seven days, according to state policy.

The audit looked at 60 randomly selected files of inmates who were seen by a health care professional. In 18 of those files, there were requests that were processed late.

The audit covered the period of July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2018.

“Inmates have a right to timely health services while incarcerated, and we all have a vested interest in their successful reentry into society. It’s concerning that the Department of Correction’s lax oversight in these areas may have negatively affected inmate treatment and rehabilitation,” Bump said in a statement.

The Department of Correction said it is making improvements in response to the audit’s findings.

“In 2018, DOC contracted with a new medical vendor, which has implemented a new electronic medical record database that assists staff in maintaining accurate information, such as medical appointment dates,” the agency said in a statement.

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