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Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Julie L. Jones

Florida Department of Corrections
Julie L. Jones, Secretary

Health Services

The Office of Health Services

David L. Thomas, M.D.,J.D.

(850) 922-6645
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John G. Burke
Deputy Director

(850) 922-6645
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Betram D.
Hurowitz, M.D.

Deputy Director
(850) 922-6645
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Additional Contact


The Office of Health Services consists of two management areas. The clinical area is the responsibility of the Deputy Director of Health Services (Clinical) who manages five functional areas and 2,000 care givers. These 2,000 individuals include physicians, nurses, mental health professionals, pharmacists and dentists. The Deputy Director of Health Services (Administration) manages a staff of 500 individuals who support the delivery of offender health care. These support activities involve: Clinical Quality Management, Health Services Contracts, Disease Control, Budget and Personnel, and Health Services Recruiting and Clinical Risk Management.

Health Services Organization Chart
See below for additional
information on these sections.

From the Director of Health Services

A great deal has been accomplished during fiscal year 1998-99. Dr. Charles Mathews, who so ably guided the Office of Health Services over the past eight years, retired in November 1998. The national renown enjoyed by health services continues to grow. Excellence of the professional staff, integration of programs with medical colleges, offering inmate/patients cutting edge care and yet maintaining rigid cost parameters are the highlights of the health services agenda.

Over 2,500 health services staff members provide access to comprehensive medical, dental, and mental health services for male and female offenders in the department's custody. This includes health education, preventative care, and chronic illness clinics at a constitutional standard of health care. During FY 98-99, the department recorded more than 2.65 million health care encounters. The scope of health services includes primary care, emergency care, inpatient hospitalization, and specialty care, as required.

Health Services Accomplishments in FY 1998-99

  • Under the department's reorganization into 4 regions, the number of regional health services teams was similarly reduced from 5 to 4 teams.

  • A continued increase in the use of the North Florida Reception Center Hospital has contributed to a substantial decrease in the use of more costly community care facilities.

  • A product of the existing managed care operation made possible by the completion of Phase Two of the Health Care Consolidation plan resulted in a reduction of 80 Full Time Employee positions with a cost avoidance of $3.5 million dollars.

  • Affiliation with two of the state's four medical schools has improved the quality of provided care, enhanced staff education, and facilitated professional recruitment efforts at no cost to state taxpayers.

  • An expanded Utilization Management Function plan was completed. The plan was designed to allow for enhanced control of all outside hospital and Specialty Consultation costs with a projected $1 million cost avoidance in community care costs.

  • Contracted health services at Broward CI were implemented with expected cost avoidance of $2 million.

  • A draft Request for Proposal (RFP) for the provision of health services in the greater Miami area and outlier areas was finalized. This project is expected to provide in excess of a 5% annual expenditure reduction or $2 million avoidance in the overall cost of provided health services.

  • Health services submitted 13 of the department's 38 Davis Productivity awards, with projected cost avoidance of $13 million for 12 regular awards, and for one exemplary Davis Productivity award with a potential cost avoidance of $8 million.

  • Phase Three of the Health Care Consolidation began on July 1, 1999 and will be undertaken concurrently with the department's reorganization.

Medical Services

  • The continuing medical education (CME) program,
       Medical Services
    building on the success of the FY 97-98 inauguration, increased its complement to 24 courses. Continued growth is expected to achieve significant physician recruitment and retention while sustaining the strong, positive image as a national leader in correctional healthcare.

Disease Control

  • Eighty facility inspections as Management Reviews or Annual Environmental Health Facility Reviews were completed. Fifty-one environmental health consultations occurred including site visits, grievance investigations, food sanitation and pest control evaluations and written documentations. Six Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) investigations at DC facilities were conducted.

  • Extensive risk management activities included a pesticide exposure situation, recommended testing, and establishing sampling protocols.

  • Eleven different environmental health training courses including a Food-borne Disease course for Federal Bureau of Prisons officials were taught.

Impaired Inmates

  • Provided extensive consultative services to health care staff on issues relating to impaired inmates, medical record entries, Conditional Medical Release (CMR) issues, in excess of 3,200 grievances/appeals related to healthcare, 15,650 offender health related transfers, specialized services such as the 100 trained offenders who act as assistants, and application requirements of DNA testing requests.

  • Responded to 750 written inquiries, 10 requests for legal production and response, 33 requests for copies of records, approximately 4,000 phone calls, and an average of 300 E-mails per month all concerning aspects of offender healthcare.

Mental Health

  • Provided effective mental health coverage and consultation within the department as demonstrated by the department's suicide rate which continues to be one of the lowest compared to other large state correctional systems.

  • Drafted proposed legislation permitting involuntary medication at locations other than the Corrections Mental Health Institution, to reduce treatment delays and associated transportation costs.

  • Conducted in-service training facilitated by nationally known speakers which will contribute to the mental health staff level of knowledge and ready them for practice in the 21st century.

  • Initiated linkages with universities for the purpose of training interns and residents thereby increasing DC mental health staff efficiency without additional costs. When recruited at graduation these new staff members are familiar with DC protocols and procedures immediately.

  • Empirically demonstrated innovative policy changes which reduced the need for inpatient treatment without increasing risk to inmates, eliminating the need for one inpatient unit.

  • Formulated a plan to better identify inmates whose mental status requires care by conditional standards. Completed cost analysis of products allowing for more accurate assessments at reduced cost.


  • Developed and implemented forms to identify guidelines for nursing assessments as a quality improvement measure.

  • Developed a nursing orientation process tailored specifically for newly graduating nurses (trainee status) in order to expand recruitment pool.

  • Expanded use of a training module for non-licensed health care workers to include Certified Medical Technicians - Corrections and Health Support Technicians. The results are expected to be both cost effective and provide an additional recruitment incentive.

  • Began process of identifying "best practices." Once the identification process is complete, these will become standard core processes for all institutions.


  • Continued the Pharmacy Cluster plan to further reduce pharmacy sites to 7. This is an ongoing project with an anticipated additional cost avoidance of $1 million.

  • Developed contracts designed to further reduce medication costs based on formulary preference. This is an ongoing project and current proposed contracts would have potential cost avoidance for the department of $300,000.

  • Began and finished a disease management process at Union Correctional Institution. The goal was to develop the best, most cost effective medication treatment regimen. The result was an $8,000 per month savings at the cluster pharmacy. This is an ongoing project being prepared for statewide implementation with a potential of $500,000 yearly cost avoidance.

  • Instituted 7 active sub-committee's of the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee which allows for and encourages more local input on committee issues from the field staff.

  • Developed a supplement to the pharmacy Health Service Bulletin (HSB) for improved oversight on continuity of medications during transfer of an offender.

  • Contributed to the implementation of legislation which allows unit-dosed medication issued to medical staff, although for offender use, to be returned to the sending pharmacy for reuse if applicable. This will provide a yearly cost avoidance expected to be in excess of $250,000.

Offender Based Information System

  • Sustained training and health services data management for 200 staff.

  • Performed 120 technical assistance on-site visits which included at least one visit to every major institution.

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