Today, we welcome the Administration’s commitment to quality patient care at Rikers Island and the decision to make Health and Hospitals Corporation the medical services provider at Rikers. More than 150 Doctors Council SEIU members provide medical, dental, diagnostic and chronic care for inmates at Rikers, as well as the Brooklyn and Manhattan Detention Centers.
Many issues remain to be ironed out in the transition from Corizon to HHC. What is certain, though, is that detainees at Rikers deserve the fundamental right of access to quality healthcare, dignity and respect. Doctors at Rikers Island feel strongly that the voice of front-line medical and dental workers should be prominently included in the transition process over the next few months. For example, doctors have been speaking out for years now about increased workplace safety provisions, the need for more productive interagency cooperation to ensure detainees get seen in a timely manner, and practices to handle detainees with mental health issues. Adequate staffing and financial resources will be critical to the quality and timeliness of patient care. Doctors Council SEIU plans to take a leadership role in working with City agencies, unions and advocacy groups to ensure that the provision of health and mental health services at Rikers Island is put on a stronger and better path forward.