Prison Medical Services, a division of EMS since
1992 continues to provide medical care to all parish inmates. Care
is provided in observance of the Louisiana State Basic Jail
Guidelines as well as the American Correctional Association
standards. The East Baton Rouge Parish Prison has an average daily
population over 1550 inmates with additional 200 – 400 inmates
housed out of the parish. Over 19,000 inmates were housed in the
prison during 2012 for more than nine days. Medical care is provided
twenty-four hours per day seven days per week. The offender patients
have access to the clinician staff weekly, which consists of two
Physicians, a Psychiatrist, Mental Health Nurse Practitioner,
Dentist, and Radiology Technician. In addition services by a
Licensed Clinical Social Worker are available weekdays and Nursing
care is available continually.
In the year 2011 Prison Medical Staff provided over 850,000 patient encounters. Nurses saw patients for medications, sick call, wound care and many other treatments at an average of 3,100 visits per month. Many of our patients are diabetics, hypertensive or have some other type of medical chronic condition. When offenders are brought to the medical unit they wait in a holding cell that now has a continual medical education programs running on a closed television system.
Prison Medical Services is proud to offer several high tech operations for the care of these chronically ill patients such as a digital-ray system that permits clear precise basic radiology procedures to be done on site, telemedicine care provides on site specialty physician appointments through video conferencing with LSU Health Services in New Orleans, and the other high tech operation is electronic medical records. The radiology and telemedicine operations are star programs as they provide additional community safety by reducing escape risks, as offenders are kept on site for appointments that traditionally required a trip to the local charity hospital.
East Baton Rouge is the only parish in the state to offer certified rape crisis advocates for offenders. Several staff members participated in training through the Rape Crisis Center and District Attorney’s Office to obtain this certification. The Department of Public Health is another partner with EMS/Prison Medical Services and they continue to provide on site testing for Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Many of these patients are on HIV medications which are then purchased through grant funding at a significant cost savings to the parish. The Department of Public Health also provides education for offenders and follow-up care upon release from the prison.
All offenders remaining in the facility for more than twenty four hours are tested for Tuberculosis. A Tuberculin skin test is performed when an offender is medically processed which consists of a detailed narrative medical history as well a nursing patient assessment. Offenders then see a physician for a physical exam within two weeks. All medical conditions and concerns are addressed through this process as well. We are finding more people are being arrested with significant health issues and frequently have to provide care for dialysis, chemotherapy, diabetics, hypertensive patients or other special needs patients. In 2012 a new subsection within the existing facility was created to house the mental health patients separately from other offenders. Also in 2012 The Office of Public Health approved a line for segregation of respiratory at risk offenders. This is where offenders remain waiting on medical clearance by a chest x-ray or other Health Department Laboratory results.
Prison Medical Services has other partners for offender care such as Feliciana Forensics for felony mental health offenders; private physicians provide evaluations on site when ordered by the court system and Women’s Hospital has recently partnered with LSU Health Services to provide obstetrical care for the offenders at their facility.
Prison Medical Services continues to proactively meet the challenges for the medical needs of offenders with the constant changes in the reduction of services available in the community.
Prison Medical Services provides for the employees as well through Health and Safety Programs. Hepatitis vaccines, Tuberculosis testing and continuing education are all a part of our practice. We are also pleased to participate in a State wide program for Critical Incident Stress Debriefing.