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Contact information:
Clinical Services Bureau
P.O. Box 250
Draper, UT 84020
Telephone: 801-576-7114
Fax: 801-576-4051

Every inmate receives a medical screening upon arrival in the Receiving and Orientation unit. Newly arrived inmates are offered a complete physical exam by a Clinical Service Bureau staff member.

The Department's Clinical Services Bureau operates infirmaries at both the Utah State Prison and the Central Utah Correctional Facility. The infirmaries offer comprehensive, on-site medical care where medical staff can treat or stabilize inmates needing health care. Inmates at both prisons may submit an Inmate Care Request slip to make an appointment with a health care professional. The requests are picked up daily and evaluated by medical staff to determine what level of care is appropriate. Clinics are daily with medication passes twice daily. Medical emergencies are handled immediately.

The Wasatch Infirmary, located at the Utah State Prison, also has a telemedicine system that allows inmates to be evaluated and followed by off-site specialists, reducing the need to transport inmates elsewhere for care.

The infirmaries offer X-ray, physical therapy, vision, OB/GYN (Wasatch) and dental services; hospice care for terminally ill inmates is available at the Wasatch Infirmary. Inmates who display particularly concerning behavior, such as suicidal tendencies, may be temporarily housed at an infirmary so they can be carefully monitored and access to materials that might be used in harmful ways is reduced.

The Clinical Services Bureau operates a pharmacy to provide prescription medications to inmates. Depending on the type of medication, inmates may receive a blister pack of pills that he or she made self-administer. Pill lines are held twice a day for medications that must be more carefully monitored.

The Clinical Services Bureau contracts with the University of Utah Hospital for treatment of seriously ill inmates who cannot be properly cared for at an infirmary or require evaluation or care from a specialist.

Since the de-institutionalization of mental health patients in the 1980s, prisons and jails through the nation have become the primary mental health care providers for offenders in the criminal justice system. Utah is no exception. The Department is charged with the difficult task of taking custody of these inmates while maintaining security and showing appropriate compassion and care.

The Bureau oversees mental health services for inmates and strives to provide comprehensive and cost-effective treatment. Inmates diagnosed with the most severe mental health conditions may be housed in the Olympus facility, a stand-alone unit, while they are stabilized. The Department also has access to two beds at the Utah State Hospital.

Utah's prison population is aging — the result of older offenders sentenced to prison and offenders with longer or life-long sentences. The Department has created two specific geriatric units at the Utah State Prison, one in Lone Peak and the other in Oquirrh 5.

Under State law, inmates are assessed a $5 co-pay for primary medical and dental care and are charged a $2 co-pay for prescription medication. When an inmate receives care in the community, he or she is responsible for 10 percent of the costs, with a cap of $2,000 per fiscal year. An inmate who has assets exceeding $200,000 upon arrival at the prison is expected to pay costs of all medical and dental care up to 20 percent of his or her total asset value. Offenders pay 50 percent of the cost for eyeglasses, dentures and medical supplies. 

That said, health care is considered a basic need and is provided to every inmate regardless of ability to pay.

Below are answers to frequently asked questions regarding inmate health care:

Q. How soon will an inmate see health care staff after being sent to the prison?

A. Shortly after arrival and while in Receiving and Orientation, an inmate will see health care staff and be offered the following:
— a nursing intake assessment to determine immediate health care needs;
— a physical exam by a physician assistant or nurse practitioner;
— a mental health evaluation;
— a dental screening.

Q. How does an inmate request health care?

A. An inmate completes an Inmate Care Request (ICR) form, available at each housing unit, to request health care. The inmate puts the completed ICR form in a sick-call box, which is checked daily by Clinical staff.

Q. When and where will prescribed medication(s) be available to an inmate?

A. Generally, within 24 hours after an inmate's sick call/clinic appointment any prescribed medication will be available at the pill line (excluding weekends). Refills of long-term prescriptions are available once certain criteria are met.

Q. Can an inmate get over-the-counter medications and supplies?

A. Yes, a catalog of over-the-counter medications and supplies is available through the Commissary.

Q. Are family members able to get copies of an inmate's medical records?

A. Yes, but an inmate must authorize and initiate that process through a GRAMA records request. The inmate requests a GRAMA form from his or her caseworker, fills it out as specifically as possible and returns it to the caseworker to be notarized. Unless indigent, an inmate must provide a blank money transfer form to cover the cost (25-cents per page) of duplicating the records. The complete form is then sent to the records specialist for review and response.

Q. Are family members able to speak to medical staff about an inmate's health?

A. Yes, but an inmate must authorize and initiate that process using the "Authorization To Verbally Discuss Health Information" form, available from a caseworker. The inmate must fill out the form, have his or her caseworker notarize it and then submit it to the Clinical Services Bureau. A designated staff member at the Bureau will make contact with the inmate's designated person to verify information and set up a passcode to be used when contacting the Bureau. Each authorization is good for 90 days.

Q. What if an inmate is having thoughts of suicide?

A. Inmates are encouraged to tell any staff member or submit an ICR form if they are struggling with thoughts of self harm. A crisis visit with a mental health professional will be arranged as soon as possible. Inmates who suspect another offender is considering suicide are encouraged to report that to staff immediately.

Q. Are accommodations made for inmates with a disability through the Americans with Disability Act?

A. Yes, those arrangements can be made through an inmate's caseworker or housing unit officer.

Q. Do inmates have co-pay charges?

A. Yes. Co-payment requirements changed in 2009. Inmates are assessed a $5 co-pay for primary medical care, $5 for dental care and $2 for prescription medication. For services provided outside of prison while still in the Department of Corrections' custody, the inmate is responsible for 10 percent of hospital care costs.

There is a cap on the inmate's share of expenses of $2,000 per fiscal year. An inmate with assets exceeding $200,000 upon entry into the Department's custody is responsible to pay costs of all medical and dental care up to 20 percent of the inmate's total asset value. After receiving medical and dental care equal to 20 percent of the inmate's total asset value, the inmate will be subject to the normal co-payments.

Inmates pay 50 percent of the cost for eyeglasses, dentures and medical supplies. However, no medical or mental health visit, procedure or supplies will be denied due to lack of funds.

Q. What is outside care?

A. Outside care is any health care provided by someone other than Department staff. This includes all appointments, surgeries, tests, X-rays, etc. conducted at outside health clinics and hospitals.

Q. What is telemedicine?

A. Telemedicine is available in the Wasatch Infirmary and uses a camera and a telephone connection to provide live-video conferences with specialists, who are able to see and converse with inmates.