NewsCorizon, Alameda County pay $8.3 million to settle jail death lawsuit
National Union of HealthCare Workers, NUHW, February 10, 2015
Alameda County and Corizon Health, Inc., the for-profit corporation that contracts with the county to provide heathcare services for inmates at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin and the Glenn Dyer Detention Center in Oakland, agreed Monday to the largest civil rights wrongful death settlement in California history. ... Under the terms of the statewide injunction stemming from the Alameda County case, Corizon, which bills itself as the nations biggest and best correctional healthcare provider, must implement major changes in how it staffs jails throughout California. The lawsuit revealed that Corizon was using licensed vocationalnurses LVNs to do the intake medical assessments that state law requires be performed by registered nurses RNs or by an LVN working under the supervision of an RN or a physician. This illegal staffing policy saved Corizon about thirty-five percent in labor costs while putting inmates at risk. ... The injunction, which also requires Alameda County to train its correctional officers to recognized signs and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, will be overseen for four years by Judge Jon S. Tigar of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. This settlement is going to change the business of correctional medicine around the country, said Julia Sherwin of Haddad & Sherwin, the Oakland civil rights law firm representing the Harrison family. If California inmates are entitled to have RNs do the work of RNs, then so are inmates in Arizona, Florida,Alabama, New York, Michigan, and every other state where Corizon has contracts.
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