A federal receiver appointed to repair California's $1.4 billion prison healthcare system called conditions disgraceful and dominated by "a culture of incompetence and nonperformance." "Almost every necessary element of a working medical-care system either does not exist or functions in a state of abject disrepair," receiver Robert Sillen said in his first report since he began overseeing the 33-prison healthcare system in April. Improving conditions probably will require a federal judge to suspend state laws, union contracts and regulations that are hindering progress, according to the report. It also said that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is in such bad shape, inmate healthcare may have to be removed permanently from its control. Sillen was appointed by U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson in Sacramento and ordered to draft a reform plan within seven months of assuming office. He was granted wide-ranging authority to reform healthcare services that, according to previous investigations, have killed an average of one inmate a week through malpractice and neglect. -- by Laura B. Benko
Healthcare at Calif. prisons disgraceful: report
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