Independent review underway of prison healthcare system in Delaware
Delaware Department of Correction (DOC) Commissioner Claire DeMatteis announced today that an independent review is underway into the department’s medical and behavioral health care systems as it seeks recommendations to strengthen clinical quality, patient safety, and data management practices.
The DOC, through its Bureau of Correctional Healthcare Services, is responsible for contracting medical and behavioral health services in all of its Level V (prison) and Level IV (work release and violation of probation) facilities and behavioral health services provided to individuals on probation after their release from incarceration.
As a service to the community, Christiana Care Health System has agreed to provide this independent review at no cost to the DOC. Christiana Care is recognized nationally for its clinical quality and safety expertise and maintains a strong commitment to serving the community, with a focus on improving health and advancing health equity in Delaware and the surrounding communities.
Christiana Care was ranked among the top 1 percent of hospitals nationwide by U.S. News & World Report. Christiana Care does not have expertise specific to prison care, but has agreed to provide recommendations based on health care industry standards for quality and patient safety.
“We are taking additional steps to strengthen our correctional health care system to assess how effectively we are meeting clinical quality benchmarks for patient safety, disease management, health promotion and continuity of care for offenders under DOC supervision,” Commissioner DeMatteis said. “The public should be reassured that Christiana Care has agreed to leverage its deep knowledge and exceptional clinical team to conduct this review and provide best practice recommendations that will help inform decisions about DOC’s correctional health care system going forward.”
“At Christiana Care, we serve our neighbors as respectful, expert, caring partners in their health. We are especially focused on working with partners throughout our community to meet the physical and behavioral health needs of our most vulnerable populations,” said Bettina Tweardy Riveros, Christiana Care chief health equity officer and senior vice president, government affairs and community engagement. “We are glad to provide our health care expertise to the Department of Correction, and we hope that our recommendations will enable the DOC to ensure the delivery of quality care in its facilities and make a positive impact on the health of our community.”
The six-week review, which will begin the first week in September, will conclude with a written report that provides prospective recommendations on opportunities to enhance clinical quality and safety by adopting best practices regarding workflow management, data and analytics management and support. The DOC will provide the data, documents, information and access to personnel and facilities that is necessary for Christiana Care to perform its work.
Christiana Care’s review will include interviews with DOC staff and contracted medical personnel, site visits and review of policies, procedures and process documentation at DOC facilities.
The review will also seek to identify opportunities to enhance utilization of clinical data and analytics to facilitate management of chronic medical conditions, including the possibility of clinical chart reviews for a random sample of patients; however, Christiana Care will not evaluate or make medical assessments or recommendations in individual diagnoses, treatment plans or other medical services made by individual health care providers or provided to individual patients.
The Christiana Care review will supplement existing quality assurance measures employed by the Bureau of Correctional Healthcare Services in focus areas of infection prevention, general environment of care, pharmacy and equipment inventory.