NYC fiddles with Rikers medical visit data, Legal Aid says

Katie R. Ochoa

Alterations to the city’s way of reporting skipped health-related visits for Rikers Island detainees make it appear the quantity of missed visits is considerably decrease than in reality, the Authorized Help Society stated Thursday.

The cost comes in Agnew v. Metropolis of New York, a class action lawsuit Legal Assist submitted final year in state Supreme Court docket in the Bronx that alleged the Correction Department was not bringing hundreds of detainees a month to their medical visits.

Decide Elizabeth Taylor in May perhaps uncovered the city in contempt of her order 6 months before to correct the trouble. She gave the city a different thirty day period to do a superior job acquiring detainees to healthcare appointments or facial area fines of close to $200,000.

Lawful Aid suggests the town has tried to mask continuing issues with skipped clinical appointments by fiddling with its figures.

For a lot of months, the town noted on the number of skipped professional medical visits. But lately the metropolis adjusted its reporting to present instead the amount of men and women who missed visits.

The city experiences that the number of people today who skip visits is much decreased than the range of missed visits.

For case in point, in April the Correction Section claimed detainees missed 11,789 professional medical appointments. In each of the former 6 months, there were by no means fewer than 6,000 skipped visits — and in 1 months, there ended up 12,000 missed visits, the information show.

But in the most the latest period of time described, from May perhaps 17 to June 12, the Correction Section documented just 186 detainees skipped visits.

In a court submitting June 16, Correction Division chief of employees Kathleen Thomson cited that 186 figure to argue the metropolis was in compliance.

“The department has created substantial strides and is happy to report that it is in substantial compliance with its obligation to give obtain to medical care,” Thomson wrote.

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Authorized Aid’s legal professionals say the city is manipulating the statistics to make it surface the problem is a great deal better so Taylor doesn’t once more uncover the division in contempt.

“If DOC [the Department of Correction] only counts individuals who skip appointments to report its progress, the knowledge will fail to capture the total cases of nonproduction, which could be significantly bigger,” the society’s attorneys stated in court papers.

“The unexplained adjustments make it impossible to credit DOC’s assertion that it has manufactured substantial strides.”

Lawful Aid also alleges the city is participating in games with info that tracks the amount of situations when no officer is around to provide the detainee to the clinic.

That variety — regarded as ‘no escort’ — has someway declined sharply with no rationalization, the modern society suggests.

In the meantime, Lawful Help questioned Correction Department stats which demonstrate that in March, April and May well, there ended up much more than 6,000 skipped visits in each individual thirty day period due to the fact detainees just refused to go.

“It strains credulity that, offered the well-documented issues persons in custody practical experience trying to accessibility to well being care, they would refuse appointments at these a substantial level,” the modern society explained.

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