Delaware Department of Correction Commissioner Carl C. Danberg has announced that the DOC has been released from its Amended Memorandum of Agreement on inmate medical and mental health care services with the U.S. Department of Justice.
The release from the AMOA brings to a close a six-year effort in which the DOC collaborated with the DOJ, medical and mental health professionals, an independent monitoring team, and the department’s medical and mental health care service providers to improve conditions throughout the inmate healthcare system.
“It is with great satisfaction and accomplishment for the Department of Correction that I can say we have achieved full compliance with the Amended Memorandum of Agreement signed with the United States Department of Justice,” stated Danberg, who has long maintained that inmate healthcare has been among the top issues he has addressed since becoming commissioner in 2007. “We have devoted significant time, effort and resources to making the much-needed improvements, and I am very pleased with the dedication and commitment department staff has shown as we worked toward fulfilling the provisions contained in the original MOA. Our release from the AMOA shows we have made tremendous progress and successfully addressed the needs of inmate healthcare, but this is not an end point. We will continue to identify and address areas for improved medical operations.”
“The Department of Correction and Commissioner Danberg have done more than just improve care; they have institutionalized reforms that will help provide quality medical care in the years to come,” said Gov. Jack Markell. “It is gratifying to see the U.S. Department of Justice acknowledge the DOC’s progress in improving medical care and creating a continuous quality improvement program that USDOJ describes as ‘a sought-after model among other states and municipalities.’”
Jim Welch, chief of the Bureau of Correctional Healthcare Services, added, “Through the diligent efforts of staff from all bureaus in the department, we have made tremendous strides and totally reshaped how healthcare is provided and monitored. We have also created a system that will continue our forward progress and ensure future success.”
Among the changes and improvements made during the course of achieving compliance with the AMOA are:
• Increasing the investment of DOC resources into inmate healthcare
• Creation of the Bureau of Correctional Healthcare Services
• Hiring of a medical director
• Increasing the DOC’s capacity for quality control and oversight of clinicians/health vendors
• Creating a quality assurance matrix that continuously monitors the DOC health system through outcome and process metrics
• Expanding existing medical facilities or building new facilities.
The DOC andDOJ entered into the AMOA Dec. 30, 2009. The original Memorandum of Agreement was signed Dec. 29, 2006, when the state agreed to take specific actions intended to improve medical and mental healthcare services at four prison facilities - Delores J. Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution, Howard R. Young Correctional Institution, James T. Vaughn Correctional Center (previously known as Delaware Correctional Center), and Sussex Correctional Institution. Based upon conditions in the AMOA, the DOC had been self-monitoring and reporting to the DOJ since 2011.