Thursday, September 13, 2007

ACA report on TYC health care available

The impact of understaffing problems on health care for kids incarcerated in Texas youth prisons was described to agency officials and the Texas Legislature this spring in a detailed spot-analysis by the American Correctional Association.

I just received a copy of the report evaluating Texas Youth Commission health services by the ACA on April 30, 2007, in response to an open record request. I'll go through it more thoroughly soon, but I thought I'd go ahead and post it for those interested.

Recent indications make me wonder if anyone followed up on these recommendations after receiving the ACA report?

In August, Dr. Ben Raimer told the Lege that UTMB was still "having a difficult time recruiting healthcare workers to staff Texas Youth Commission facilities because of deteriorating safety conditions at TYC units." Raimer also told legislators that mental healthcare is "probably worse" than it was one year ago.

The ACA report praised the quality of TYC mental health care, particularly at Corsicana, though even that facility requires more nursing support, they said. But concurring with Raimer, regular, acute healthcare for the general TYC population appears to be spotty, irregular, and most of all understaffed with qualified health personnel. Though only three units' records were examined, I don't imagine these issues were isolated to just those facilities.

Given Dr. Raimer's comments last month, how many of these issues do you suppose have been solved yet?

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

The ACA report was to be used to set the care standards for the new UTMB contract. Of course, that intent was shelved before I left TYC and the attitude was TYC would take whatever UTMB was willing to provide, which would probably be less than what they provided under the fiscal '06-'07 contract.

Howard A. Hickman

steve said...

The word I get is that health care in some of the facilities is adequate. But, there could always be some improvement. However, if TYC doesn't have a sufficient number of psychiatrists on staff, it's not for lack of trying. I recall seeing some job postings for a staff psychiatrist offering an outrageous amount of money.

However, a large load of the mental health issues in TYC could be handled with more chemical dependency credentialed counselors/psychologists, and sex offender counselors/psychologists. However, there aren't enough of these people on staff, and part of the problem is they don't pay them enough money. And, TYC doesn't seem to be looking for people with those particular credentials. Barring a rare exception, every single kid that comes and goes from TYC probably needs chemical dependency counseling.

Anonymous said...

Adequate my ass. Look when the common remedy for any illness is two aspirin and lots of water, and when kids are having asthma attacks and staff are told "have the youth fill out a sick call," it becomes outrageous. I am surprised that I haven't heard many staff or youth start calling that hotline on this issue because I see it all the time. It's worse medical treatment than some third world countries.

whitsfoe said...

Hey Henson, every time I go to your blog, I get a virus alert. You might wanna get that checked out dude, but not at a TYC facility. I'm not kidding either. Dude... I'm infected again... Is it possible someone sabotaged your site man? Anyone got a cyber antibiotic they can throw my way? This is crazy.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

That's the first I've heard of it, Whitsfoe. Has anybody else had a problem?!

Anonymous said...

We are going to get whatever UTMB wants to give us. Whitmire made that very clear during the hearings. Dumping TYC's own medical care and going to UTMB was Whitmire's baby in the first place. During the hearings, he would not allow Kimbrough to make even a mild critique of UTMB. Makes you wonder...

Anonymous said...

You know, the more I think of it, in reviewing the archives of the Lege over the past years, TYC, with all its current problems, is the creation of one Senator - Whitmire. He has much too much power. Head of the Senate finance committee and head of the Senate Criminal Justice committee. He has been calling the shots over TYC for a very long time.

Anonymous said...

TYC employees in Elmer's district, vote him out of office when his time comes!!

Anonymous said...

Our cracker jack General Counsel probably has no idea about rule posting requirements.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone want to guess at the impact of the no felonies or A/B misdemeanors has on TYC's ability to hire LCDC? How many chemical dependency counselors were fired or quit because of the policy? Anyone know?

Anonymous said...

WHile I was employed at Corsicana the standing nickname for the UTMB staff was "the Angels of Death".

Anonymous said...

The problem is that UTMB's medical services have been sorely lacking for many years. They have been nearly impossible to work with, and basically came to TYC with a take it or leave it attitude.

I know when TYC tried to leave it and contract with other service providers, legislators (such as Whitmire) put the kibbosh on that and told TYC they had to use UTMB's services.

Dr. Raimer was just taking advantage of the political wind to make UTMB look better and TYC more incompetent.

In reality, both are disfunctional.

Anonymous said...

Sandra Ferrara worked for TYC. Sandra Ferrara negotiated the first UTMB contract. Sandra Ferrara still oversees the UTMB contract as an employee of UTMB. Renewal of the UTMB contract is always the same. Who IS Sandra Ferrara?

Anonymous said...

She's like Nurse Ratchet.

Anonymous said...

Ms Ferara negotiated the contract with UTMB in way that was very advantageous to UTMB. Her reward was to be hired by UTMB at a much higher salary to serve at UTMB's liaison with TYC. Conflict of interest anyone?

Anonymous said...

Want to check out the quality of care children get under UTMB Healthcare.

Look into the recent emergency appendectomy that a child needed in Crockett TYC.

Speaks loudly of the decision making process.

Have fun laywers.....

Anonymous said...

Sorry I've been out.
What emergency appendectomy? The hospital/surgeon did not perform the appendectomy until the next day.(the youth was observed in the hospital that night). An emergency appendectomy is performed immediately; not the next day. Again someone is trying to practice medicine without a license.(Still want the lawyers to have fun?) Please allow the doctors and nurses to do their jobs, which by the way, they must have since the youth is up and about on campus.

Also to adequate my ass- Please take note from above..Aspirin isn't allowed on any TYC campus due to the risk of Reye's Syndrome. Which tells us you definitely are not a licensed medical staff and/or you don't have children because this has been preached about to parents for years. As for the instruction for youth to drink water. That's always a good practice since the majority of our youth don't drink the recommended amount of fluids per day and suffer from the common side effects of fluid deficits; just to list a few: headaches/ stomach complaints/ urinary complaints/ back pains and muscle aches and much more. I can't judge about having youth put a sick call for the next day but I do hope you would be there to call the medical staff back if the child's breathing got worse or act as the child's advocate and insist he be seen if you are that concerned for their health.