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Author Topic: HIV prisonlawsuits in Ohio  (Read 2416 times)

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HIV prisonlawsuits in Ohio
« Reply #1 on: Mon, Apr 25, 2005, 04:33 »

Deal Sought In Prison HIV Suit
by The Associated Press

Posted: April 22, 2005 9:01 pm ET

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Deal Sought In Prison HIV Suit


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(Columbus, Ohio)  Ohio is trying to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by inmates alleging inadequate health care, according to the director of Ohio's prison system.

A final agreement will depend on how much it will cost Ohio to make changes to the way it provides prison medical treatment, said Reginald Wilkinson, director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

"If we thought the dollar amount was going to be so exorbitant it would just not be good for state government, then we would probably invoke our options to appeal, or go to court," Wilkinson said.

Both sides are working toward an agreement, said Kim Norris, spokeswoman for Attorney General Jim Petro. "We're hopeful."

The lawsuit filed in October 2003 alleges that Ohio prisoners receive inadequate medical and dental care because state officials are deliberately indifferent to their needs.

The prisoners have a constitutional right to health care because they are confined and depend on the state, according to the lawsuit.

A message seeking comment was left with the Cincinnati-based Prison Reform Advocacy Center, which brought the lawsuit that was certified as a federal class-action suit last year.

Both sides are studying a 600-page report prepared by a team of prison health care experts hired by the state and attorneys for the inmates.

The report, submitted in January, documented numerous problems with health care. Treatment of HIV, for example, "was found to be so profoundly inadequate as to amount to no care at all," the report said.

The report also found that the system of contracting with doctors led to a "low-bid" approach to care. Most patients "seem to be seen by physicians for only a brief encounter with very little documented physician evaluation," the report said.

The report doesn't indicate the cost of making changes, though Wilkinson said he is optimistic.

"We think we're going to be able to keep that cost down more than what I would have been able to speculate a year ago or six months ago," he said
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