8 comments to “Jailhouse Medicine”

  1. Jamie

    Marsha, one of the loves of my life. Free spirit, and a heluva alot of fun. A music appreciator, and Earth woman…no way did you deserve this. It breaks my heart that I was far away when this all went down. Love to Rebecca…may you find peace with your anger. These brutes and money monsters are going to get what they deserve as a Kharmic payment, to look at it through Marsha’s beliefs.

  2. CJ

    I want to apologize for my previous post’s almost complete off topic-ness. I was thinking about something else. The situation described in the article is a symptom of the lack of affordable public health care and that is because of the trade deals I described but the story was not so closely related to the situation I described. For example, the companies described are likely not multinationals like some of the global prison firms. So, they would likely be forced to globalize or be undercut by competitors. To make it possible for low cost foreign doctors to work licensing requirements have to be harmonized. Also, as professional services may be trade across borders, cross border data flows are being written into the deals. A crisis in healthcare had to be created to get people to accept the idea of US doctors, nurses, teachers, etc. being replaced by a doctor over the Internet/telepresence, or by a global services firm, the lowest qualified bidder. etc.

    Would you rather get no dental treatment or teledentistry? Even if its strange at first, I think most people would pick the telepresence dentist.

  3. CJ

    If you do some digging you’ll find that the privatization of services is demanded in the pending TISA and TTIP trade deals being negotiated in Geneva and Brussels (also there is a renewed push for the DOHA round of GATS to be concluded)

    Dig a bit deeper and you’ll find its all because of a 90s era trade deal, which is nothing less than an attack on the concept that governments should protect members of society from the worst excesses of mercantilism. Instead, in its place we are given a new higher goal, profitmaking, and “efficiency” in the Ronald Coase sense, to which all else must become subservient.

    Lets look at a little known two sentence section (Article 1:3 (b) and (c) of the GATS) which exemplifies the problem starkly. Note that it is endorsed explitly by the EU in their negotiating mandate. Its virtually unknown but not secret!

    The use of this accursed 1990s era GATS definition is forcing a global privatiztion (and “crapification”) of “services” basically including everything, health care, education, things that should never be privatized are being and the US is behind it more than anybody else. This is the real reason health care is so hopeless in the US. Our futures are being sacrified so that the system can appear to be functional instead of the mess that it is. After all, it would not do for the US to give its own people a sweetheart deal when it demands such huge sacrifices of others. (The dismantlement of public healthcare and pharmacy programs which make it possible for many people with chronic illnesses to bet by, a situation which will gradually vanish under the new deals. Basically, they also make everything in FDRs New Deal FTA illegal, so there will be no ways to reduce the impacts on employment of a future Depression for communities besides increasing “exempt” programs such as ones which are secret, involving national security and clearances.. This will also create a state of self censorsip by provisoning ones employment on your loyalty to the system, similar to North Korea’s songbun system of hereditary entitlements and exclusion.

    Under the new way, more government spending of any kind wont ever create local jobs as that would be discriminating against our trading partners. The low bidder will have to win it.)

    For discussions of the interpretation of the section which reads:

    “For the purposes of this Agreement…

    (b) ‘services’ includes any service in any sector except services supplied in the exercise of governmental authority;

    (c) ‘a service supplied in the exercise of governmental authority’ means any service which is supplied neither on a commercial basis, nor in competition with one or more service suppliers.”

    see http://www.ciel.org/Publications/PublicServicesScope.pdf and http://www.iatp.org/files/GATS_and_Public_Service_Systems.htm

    A bizarre aspect of this in the prison context is that governments will be locked into irreversible privatization and any regulatory change that promises to reduce – say, utilization of prisons will be seen as a legal taking from corporations under the doctrine of “indirect expropriation” even if its for a very good reason. So, for example, making a change that reduces the need to imprison unfortunates in one area will demand the criminalization of some new behavior to replace the lost profits.

  4. Carolea Goodwin

    Dear Mr. Fithian,
    you sir are not god, quit playing him. Do the right thing!!

  5. Carolea Goodwin

    Thank god for reporters like Brian Joseph who are not afraid to tell the ugly truth, and lawyers like Neville Johnson who are not afraid to take on the rights of the under dog. CFMG is about nothing but profits. Profit at the expense of life. I personally want to know how Mr. Taylor Fithian and his employees sleep at night. Death for profit is MURDER.

  6. Kip Hallman

    CFMG’s doctors, nurses, behavioral health specialists and other members of our healthcare team provide care to about 13,000 California inmates and juvenile wards. The vast majority have substance abuse problems and 20% or more suffer from serious mental illness. Many have physical and mental health conditions resulting from years of neglect and lack of medical care.

    In fact, we are often the only source of medical care for many of them. Our medical professionals often are the first to diagnose and treat medical conditions that our patients are unaware they have or have simply ignored for a variety of reasons. Many of our patients are non-compliant with prescribed medications and often may not even know the name of the medications they have been prescribed.

    All of this makes the work we do challenging and high-risk. For us and our care teams, it also makes the work incredibly meaningful. We provide a critically needed service to a population that is medically underserved, frequently homeless and lives mainly on the fringes of society, and we proudly and seriously assume this responsibility.

    Our care team’s passion and compassion are reflected in a staff turnover rate below 10% per year, despite the many challenges of working in a jail setting. Our caregivers choose to do this important work and to continue doing it year after year.

    As in any healthcare setting, despite best efforts and compassionate care, we occasionally experience bad outcomes, including deaths. We believe that every life has value, and we take every death seriously, seeking to identify potential errors and to learn from them.

    The article includes a number of comments from people critical of us and our care, but fails to mention the hundreds of thank you letters and notes we have received from grateful former patients, like this one:
    Dear Dr. Fithian,
    You may remember me – I first encountered you during my stay at the Monterey County Jail, and you oversaw my recovery from mental illness. I’ve rebuilt my life in [another state], reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. I’ve found a terrific job, and have been taking elective night courses at a local college. I’ve enjoyed a vibrant and prolific creative life, having produced multiple short stories and personal essays in the time since returning home. I have just been accepted into [an] English literature graduate degree program, beginning this fall.

    All of this and more, I have you to thank for. If you hadn’t intervened when I was incarcerated, I might be languishing in a California prison right now, with a felony conviction hanging around my neck – or worse. Instead, I have been given my health again, a miraculous new lease on life, and a chance at a career in which I might make a real difference in the world as a teacher.

    By the grace of God are these things possible – and you have played an essential role in administering that grace. I hope that, if the value and impact of your work are ever unclear to you, you will think of me as living proof that you have changed lives – this life, at least – for the better.

    Thanks…and Always Do the Right Thing.

  7. Zach LaRue

    I miss you, Marsha. You were like the most totally awesome and kickass person ever.

  8. John

    In my personal view the research applied RE: medical care in prisons must be a difficult course to follow. Reason, from my experience, there is an attitude of either complacency or hostility among the entire staff of Los Angeles facilities. I’ve come to understand that to work inside these jailing facilities has to be difficult as the workers are exposed to, at times, very sick (mentally) inmates that can be very intimidating.However, I’ve also witnessed competent
    M.D’s and nurses.
    My opinion is that there are so many individuals that really shouldn’t be incarcerated, which causes serious depression that will haunt the inmate while inside and particularly once he is discharged. It appears that incarceraing low level and first offenders actually causes additional problems to society once that misplaced inmate is released. His life is altered forever. Thank you for the work you do to bring to light the positive changes so desperately needed.

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