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Update on University Health Care Policy Regarding Treatment of Inmates


Statement from David Entwistle, CEO, University of Utah Hoospitals & Clinics, and David Bjorkman, M.D., Dean, University of Utah School of Medicine

This afternoon our administrative team met with officials from the Utah Department of Corrections and the Salt Lake County Jail to discuss how to move forward in the wake of Monday's tragic shooting. We'd like to summarize our conversation and outline the steps we will be taking starting on Thursday, June 27.

First, let me emphasize that the top priority for all of us in University Health Care administration is to ensure that our organization is a safe place to receive care and a safe place to work. Today's conversation was only a first step; we will continue to work with our colleagues in the law enforcement community to review policy and procedures.

Tomorrow (Thursday, June 28), University Health Care will begin providing care to inmates under the following conditions:

--Until further notice, all Department of Corrections inmates brought to a University Health Care facility will be escorted by two officers. All inmates will wear wrist and ankle restraints.

--Inmates brought to University Health Care facilities from the Salt Lake County Jail will have either one officer or two officers depending on the risk the inmate represents. All jail inmates will wear wrist and ankle restraints.

--Officers from both the Department of Corrections and the Salt Lake County Jail will provide care providers with a summary of inmate history and risk potential before an inmate receives care.

--University Health Care providers will defer to corrections and jail officers regarding whether or not it is appropriate to remove any restraints in the course of treatment. If an agreement cant be reached on the removal of restraints, the inmate will not receive care at that time.

--University Health Care staff will not request that inmates have restraints removed for any reason other than what is needed in the course of a physical exam or procedure. Under no circumstances should an inmate be removed from restraints to complete paperwork or sign a document.

--When feasible, the use of the Telehealth Network will be used to provide inmates access to University Health Care experts without having to transport the inmate to the University campus. All clinics and specialties will be asked to evaluate their use of the Telehealth Network and whether they can increase its use.

In addition to the steps listed above, a task force has been established to discuss and evaluate a number of other issues and ideas. The first job of the task force will be to make sure the policies and procedures of law enforcement and University Health Care are in line with each other. Once that review is complete, staff education will be conducted to ensure that both law enforcement and University Health Care personnel clearly understand the roles and processes involved in treating inmates.

Future discussion will focus on the feasibility of developing a secure facility specifically for inmates.

Again we want to emphasize these are first steps and that our discussion with law enforcement will be ongoing.