State Will Remodel Hospital For Prison Care

STOCKTON, Calif. — County officials have approved a $2 million contract to build a secure unit for prison inmates being treated at San Joaquin General Hospital.

The state will pay to remodel a 25-bed medical/surgical unit in the east wing of the hospital as part of a legal settlement stemming from a lawsuit over a plan to build a 1,722-bed medical and mental health care treatment facility just outside Stockton for ill prison inmates.

The modified unit where inmate patients are currently treated in the hospital will have tighter security once it is remodeled and continue to be guarded by correctional officers from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

California Prison Health Care Services entered into a multiyear contract last August with San Joaquin General Hospital to provide care for prison inmates that will not be available at the Stockton facility.

The inmate patients have generated much-needed revenue for the hospital, which has been struggling financially.

Stockton, San Joaquin County and the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce sued the state prisons department and the federal receiver in charge of the prison medical system over plans to build the California Health Care Facility (CHCF)-Stockton. A settlement agreed to last year requires the state to reimburse the county as much as $4 million to convert the ward at the hospital.

The county Board of Supervisors recently accepted a $1.95 million bid from Modesto-based CM-MC Construction for the remodeling project. Change orders could push the amount to over $2 million.

CHCF-Stockton will feature a diagnostic and treatment center, housing units grouped into “treatment clusters” by patient medical and mental health acuity levels, specialty clinics with on-site medical and mental health care specialists when possible, physical medicine and rehabilitation, diagnostic imaging, a laboratory, pharmacy, dialysis clinic, medical and mental outpatient clinic, procedure center, dental clinic triage and treatment clinic and infusion services for 337 high-acuity and 673 low-acuity inmate patients.

A central utilities plant, central kitchen, warehousing and support facilities, high-security correctional perimeter, eleven 45-foot guard towers and upgrades to surrounding roadways will also be built at a total cost of $700 million to $750 million.

Construction is slated for completion in the fall of 2013 and occupancy at the end of the year. The state hopes to provide more cost-effective and efficient care to prison inmates with significant health care needs by centralizing its care at the 1.2 million-square-foot facility.