So, I haven't heard back yet from Director Ryan on my email regarding neglect and scabies at ASPC-Tucson/Rincon, but I sure did hear from his staff. To be fair to him, I'm going to post his defense of his job performance here - along with my reply....
Your allegations are very serious in nature. I will also advise that your conclusions are totally unfounded.
Department created a bureau to monitor the health care of the inmate
population after privatization. I am the Interim Assistant Director of
the Health Services Contract
Monitoring Bureau. There are several staff assigned to cover the Tucson
prison complex, and I was made aware of the scabies issue immediately by
both the contracted medical vendor and one of my monitors at the site.
You ask if
“contract monitoring staff are just oblivious, deliberately
indifferent, or actually complicit in hiding Corizon's crimes against
the people of this state.” The question is both insulting
and inflammatory. The answer is an emphatic “no.”
your source (former Corizon employee) would like to directly bring
forth specific concerns regarding the health care being provided at the
Tucson complex, I will be happy
to investigate them. She/he may e-mail me at any time, or call my
Interim Assistant Director
Arizona Department of Corrections
Health Services Contract Monitoring Bureau
Here's my less-than contrite reply.
Wed, Apr 30, 2014 4:53 PM
You're right that my question about
the competence and culpability of the folks responsible for overseeing
the contract with Corizon is an insult, Mr. Pratt - and until you prove
me wrong, I offer no apology for it. But I'm wondering, now: if you've
been on top of this outbreak yourself
since the beginning, why is it getting worse instead of being contained
and eradicated? I've dealt with scabies plenty of times managing
shelters, and you people have far more control over the prison infirmary
environment that I did
over the ones I had to deal with.
Frankly, if it wasn't for the
numerous complaints I've received from prisoners and their family
members about the atrocious neglect occurring under your watch these
past few years - not to mention that little class action suit over
health care - I would have tempered my tone and remarks considerably.
I'm tired of watching the most vulnerable people being exploited and
neglected by companies like Wexford and Corizon, and you appear to be
their chief enabler. Since informing you of patient care issues doesn't
seem to have any impact on the care those patients receive, however, I
have every reason to believe that either you don't really follow up on
those matters, or no one at Corizon cares what you have to say because
they know the DOC will let them get away with whatever they want anyway.
The almost year-long deliberate indifference shown to the suffering of
the late, elderly Gloria Rogers (despite her daughter's on-going
correspondence with you about her kidney infections, cardiac symptoms,
inappropriately discontinued meds, and other unmet medical needs) comes
to mind. I can name more dying and dead prisoners, if you want me to
explain further the reasons for my skepticism.
If you cared at all about those patients at Rincon, you would be
me for the information I offered so you can investigate further instead
of chastising me for criticizing your office. After all, what I just had
say to the director addresses much more than just the persistent
presence of scabies in the ICU. When you respond to such information
with knee jerk reactions that have more to do with defending your ego
than following up to assure patient welfare, you
only reinforce my concern that you may indeed minimize critical issues
favor of reassuring the legislature that everything at the DOC is hunky
dorey. You thus give them permission to ignore all the desperate letters
and calls from prisoners and their families begging for help - which
most legislators already do anyway. You, of all people, should be
leading the charge to reverse the privatization of health care at the
DOC, because you have first hand knowledge of how much patient care has
suffered and how wasteful doing things this way is. Instead you condone
such abuse of public resources.
The patients in this particular unit are exquisitely vulnerable, as
many of those guys are either too far gone to
complain or will probably die before they manage to
exhaust their grievances - which no one at the DOC is about to help the
more seriously disabled men even file. Meanwhile, the staff who still
remain in the ICU have all been threatened into
remaining silent about their discontent or concerns about patient care,
so who will advocate for the welfare of those men? You are clearly not
the one to do so - or, if you are really in there fighting for those
guys, Corizon has no respect for your insistence that prisoners receive
only the best care. From everything I see, you are not an advocate for
patients, you are an advocate for whitewashing their suffering in order
to perpetuate the lie that contracting those services out was a
brilliant idea, so men like Rep. Kavanagh can save face for demanding
it. I find that pretty troubling.
Given all the above - as well as a long list of the gravely ill and
prisoners' families I've come to be quite familiar with - I reiterate
my allegation that
your office has been negligent and can't be trusted to monitor the
in the best interests of the AZ DOC's imprisoned patient population OR
the taxpayers of this state. Lest anyone say I didn't give you a fair
chance to respond to that accusation, however, I'll be happy to post
your reply to my email to Ryan publicly as well. In fact, I'm putting
this whole conversation out there. Please feel free to elaborate more,
for the record, if you wish to. You know how to reach me.