08. Medical Care
"The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease."
There is nothing more frightening than being sick in an unfamiliar place, especially in the event of an emergency. Prison is no exception.
The BOP is responsible for your healthcare, so you do not need to carry any sort of medical insurance or supplemental insurance. The BOP has instituted some co-payments for certain appointments and procedures but these are very nominal fees, a few dollars, and are taken from the TRULINCS account.
The BOP is accustomed to, and is equipped to handle, a wide range of treatments for illnesses of inmates ranging from cuts and scraps, to emergency treatment, to long term care. Some of these medical needs are met by professional BOP staff and others contracted through private entities. Like other medical institutions around the country, The University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMass) coordinates inpatient and outpatient care provided by specialist physicians at the correctional facility FCI Ray Brook (New York) and in community settings. The medical school manages scheduling and handles all claims associated with the care of inmates. Find medical school like UMass provide comprehensive health services at the BOP medical facility in Devens, MA, Butner, NC and was recently awarded a contract for FCI Berlin, NH.
Inmates, by policy, are required to receive the same level of care as is provided in the community. The level of care should be same, but security measures often affect the manner in how the care is delivered. When inmates feel ill or want a medical evaluation, they would not be allowed to schedule their own appoint and see any physician that they want in the community. Also, the BOP is responsible for a number of inmates, so there are also issues with prioritizing who gets medical attention and when. So while medical care is supposed to be provided at a level similar to that provided in the community, you can expect delays, red tape, and bureaucracy in meeting medical needs other than emergency care.
In federal prisons, there are typically a Chief Clinical Officer, who is a medical doctor over the prison, then Physician’s Assistants, Emergency Medical Technicians, and Nurse practitioners to meet the care needs of the compound. It is a good idea to take a look at the BOP’s Patient Care policy so that you have an understanding of your rights and expected care.