Commissioner Claire DeMatteis announced Aug. 27 that the Delaware Department of Correction initiated an independent review of its medical and behavioral health care systems as it seeks recommendations to strengthen clinical quality, patient safety and data management practices.

The DOC, through its Bureau of Correctional Healthcare Services, is responsible for contracting medical and behavioral health services in all of its Level V — prison — and Level IV — work release and violation of probation — facilities and behavioral health services provided to individuals on probation after their release from incarceration.

As a service to the community, Christiana Care Health System has agreed to provide this independent review at no cost to the DOC. Christiana Care does not have expertise specific to prison care, but has agreed to provide recommendations based on health care industry standards for quality and patient safety.

“We are taking additional steps to strengthen our correctional health care system to assess how effectively we are meeting clinical quality benchmarks for patient safety, disease management, health promotion and continuity of care for offenders under DOC supervision,” said DeMatteis. “The public should be reassured that Christiana Care has agreed to leverage its deep knowledge and exceptional clinical team to conduct this review and provide best practice recommendations that will help inform decisions about DOC’s correctional health care system going forward.”

The six-week review, which will begin the first week in September, will conclude with a written report that provides prospective recommendations on opportunities to enhance clinical quality and safety by adopting best practices regarding workflow management, data and analytics management and support. The DOC will provide the data, documents, information and access to personnel and facilities that is necessary for Christiana Care to perform its work.

Christiana Care’s review will include interviews with DOC staff and contracted medical personnel, site visits and review of policies, procedures and process documentation at DOC facilities. It will also seek to identify opportunities to enhance utilization of clinical data and analytics to facilitate management of chronic medical conditions. The review may include clinical chart reviews for a random sample of patients, but Christiana Care will not evaluate or make medical assessments or recommendations in individual diagnoses, treatment plans or other medical services made by individual health care providers or provided to individual patients.

The Christiana Care review will supplement existing quality assurance measures employed by the Bureau of Correctional Healthcare Services in focus areas of infection prevention, general environment of care, pharmacy and equipment inventory.