Medical Autonomy

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We have been holding sick call in the afternoons. The warden now wants sick call held at 5 a.m. so that inmates can be screened before the workday starts. Isn’t it a violation of the standard on medical autonomy for the warden to tell us to change our sick call time when the existing schedule is preferred by the health professionals?

The standard on medical autonomy (A-03) addresses clinical decisions and actions regarding health care provided to inmates. However, the time that sick call is held is not a clinical issue. The scenario you describe best fits under A-01 Access to Care. This standard requires the responsible health authority to identify and eliminate any barriers to inmates receiving health care. As mentioned in the discussion section of that standard, an unreasonable barrier includes deterring inmates from seeking care for their serious health needs, such as holding sick call at 2 a.m., when this practice is not reasonably related to the needs of the institution. It would be important to explore the reason for the proposed change during administrative meetings and that the decision be made jointly by the corrections administration and the responsible health authority.
— From CorrectCare Volume 32, Issue 1, Winter 2018