In response to Stephanie Mencimer’s article “Getting the Treatment” (7/25), I want to point out many factual errors, as well as a very slanted perspective, that I believe could have misled readers and prevented them from making any kind of fair judgment about CCA’s Correctional Treatment Facility (CTF) and its quality of services.
First, in a specific incident described by Mencimer, she makes claims about a CTF inmate’s medical care that are incorrect and entirely inappropriate. This account, which obviously was not given to Mencimer from any official or documented source, is false.
In fact, as the patient’s medical chart and records reflect, the patient was administered continuous care and given appropriate medication at CTF and D.C. General Hospital, where surgery was performed for her condition during the time that Mencimer claims the patient was going untreated at CTF.
It is also indicative of Mencimer’s lack of medical knowledge that she quotes Brenda Smith, a non-medically trained individual representing a legal organization, as being “disturbed” that pregnant women with the HIV virus at CTF weren’t receiving triple-therapy medication for HIV infection. In reality, it would be disturbing if these patients were. If Mencimer had discussed this issue with a qualified infectious-disease specialist, such as the one providing service at CTF, she would have learned that such treatment does not correspond with recommended treatment as published by the national Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.
The AZT reference is not the only instance where Mencimer incorrectly writes about inmate medications. To clarify the facts, CTF’s physicians, per policy and contract, are free to exercise their best medical judgment in all cases when prescribing medication. Prescriptions are given based on effectiveness, not cost. Prescribed medications are delivered by FedEx to CTF on the day following the physician’s order, where they are distributed to patients during regular medication rounds. CTF has a medication nurse on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, who makes these rounds at 6 a.m., 2 p.m., 6 p.m., and 10 p.m.
CTF also has a fully stocked supply of medications in its regular formulary on site, available for use when a physician feels that even a one-day delay in providing medication would be significant. Also, arrangements are in place with area hospitals and drugstores to provide emergency backup service.
Regarding CCA’s other facilities, one of the many inaccurate comparisons made by Mencimer was the medical staffing at CCA’s Youngstown, Ohio, prison, which also houses D.C. inmates. This facility does not house nearly the same profile of offenders as CTF, which heavily consists of substance abusers and those inmates requiring infirmary care. However, Mencimer draws apples-to-oranges comparisons between the Youngstown facility’s medical staffing in the context of a story about CTF’s inmate populationa gross misrepresentation of fact that draws uneducated conclusions about inmate-to-staff ratios.
Despite these and other claims that Mencimer makes against CTF’s quality of care, the fact is that CCA places quality as a top priority, and our staffing levels in each area of CTF’s operations, from medical services to security, follow the guidelines set by the American Correctional Association’s industry standards, as well as the contractual requirements of our governmental customer, the District of Columbia.
While Mencimer states in her article that she tried unsuccessfully to contact CCA officials for comment, doing so obviously would have had little effect. To us, it seems that she had already reached her own opinion before writing the first word.
Corrections Corporation of America