LOGAN — The recent retirement and other staff changes at the Cache County Jail have left the facility without any full-time medical staff. The shortage has reportedly caused problems for some inmates, who claim there have been mistakes in the medications they are supposed to take.
Sheriff Chad Jensen said the Sheriff’s Administration is in the process of contracting its medical services for the jail. Several companies have already expressed interest and will be making presentations in the next few weeks. His hope is to have a new provider in place by September 1.
“Medical care of our housed inmates is of the up most importance to our staff and facility,” said Jensen.
Jensen explained that this was a change that he has been expecting for the past year and will improve the functionality of the jail. “This will give us full-time medical personnel, who have training and expertise treating inmates. They will work with our existing deputies who are trained in law enforcement.”
The nursing shortage recently came up during a court hearing for Heidi Rutchey, who had been receiving treatment at the Utah State Hospital, until being transferred back to the jail. She told Judge Thomas Willmore that deputies were administering medications to her but had made multiple mistakes in the past week.
Jensen explained that all medications come pre-packaged and labeled for each inmate either from the pharmacy, or in Rutchey’s case, the State Hospital. Before being administered, a deputy will verify the inmate’s name, open the package and make sure the inmate takes the medication correctly.
“Every pill is accounted for,” said Jensen. “The last thing we want is to have an inmate not taking their pills or stockpiling them.”
Jensen described that until a full-time provider is hired, several part-time nurses will be in the jail on a regular basis. Bear River Health Department’s nursing staff will also be in the facility three-times-a-week, assisting with nursing and administering TB tests to inmates and detainees.
Doctor Ed Redd is the head physician at the jail. Jensen said Dr. Redd will continue doing clinics inside the jail at least twice weekly. The pharmacy will also be helping with administering required medication to inmates.
Jensen explained arrangements have been made with other county jails to house inmates who have special medical needs. Those needing to be transferred to a hospital or other correctional facility will be made urgently to assist in the inmates prompt care.
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