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One of the largest impacts of the rapidly increasing prison population in the United States is the widespread medical staff shortages and resulting struggles to continually provide health care in accordance with all inmate’s constitutionally guaranteed rights to “adequate medical care.” While this may not seem like a significant concern for inmates, in many instances, as a result of this internal strain, prison healthcare services are being provided by wholly unqualified staff with extremely troubling personal and professional histories.
Many states and correctional facilities, in an effort to deal with their healthcare provision inefficiencies, have begun to outsource their constitutionally mandated medical care to private correctional healthcare companies. In fact, according to the National Commission on Correctional Health Care, more than 70% of correctional facilities outsource their medical services, with a majority of that outsourced work conducted by for-profit private correctional healthcare companies.
Problematically, unlike publicly contracted healthcare providers in the Department of Corrections or county jail system, private correctional healthcare companies and their employees are not subject to the same levels of oversight in hiring, staffing, and overall job performance. This dynamic often translates into a lower quality of care and limited focus on the wellbeing of the inmates served by these companies.
Making matters worse, private correctional healthcare companies often place an emphasis on profit and cost-cutting measures, rather than ensuring all inmates within a facility are provided quality and timely care. Among the very common cost-cutting strategies of private correctional healthcare companies are the hiring of healthcare providers with problem histories (including those who have previously committed crimes or had their licenses revoked) who will work for lower pay, the placement of unqualified individuals in highly important healthcare positions, and a conscious incentive to refuse care or neglect the needs of seriously ill and injured inmates.
For example, a 2015 New York Department of Investigation report found that the nation’s largest private correctional healthcare company, Corizon Health, had failed to “engage in rudimentary screening processes and supervision of staff, missing serious red flags in employees’ backgrounds and resulting in the hiring of unqualified and unfit candidates,” including the hiring of a mental health worker who had been convicted of second-degree murder. Any and all medical services performed by the aforementioned employees of Corizon would be classified as medical malpractice under the law, with the correctional facility and Corizon themselves having also engaged in negligent behavior.
Correctional facilities and private correctional health care providers who engage in negligent hiring practices are liable for both the medical malpractice of their employees and their own negligence in hiring and health care.
As such, private correctional healthcare companies have been sued thousands of times for negligence, medical malpractice, and wrongful death linked to staff with extremely troubling histories and a complete lack of necessary qualifications. Some lawsuits have sought punitive damages in excess of $50 million for serious injuries and prison deaths resulting from repeated negligent hiring practices by private correctional healthcare providers.
Because of the challenges associated with identifying and proving negligence in hiring and medical malpractice, consulting with a prison medical malpractice attorney experienced in this type of litigation is an important first step in the claims process. Our attorneys have handled cases ranging from those who have been victims of misdiagnosis of cancer to staff failing to treat an inmate.
The team of trial attorneys at Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC has dedicated their professional lives to aggressively advocating on behalf of victims of prison medical malpractice, negligence and deliberate indifference. Our prison medical malpractice and negligence claims have resulted in many multi-million-dollar awards for victims in all 50 states of the United States. If someone you know suffered serious injury or death stemming from negligent hiring practices or medical malpractice by a healthcare provider while incarcerated and you’re interested in pursuing a claim on their behalf, we strongly encourage you contact Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC today at (503) 226-6361 or fill out our online intake form.