In 2010, the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Saint Louis University entered into a contract with the St. Louis Department of Health to provide physician services and on-call coverage to their Corrections Medicine program.
Fred Rottnek, M.D., the lead physician for corrections medicine, has been in this role since 2001. With this contract, Dr. Rottnek became full-time faculty. He was joined by Mary V. Hastings, M.D. to complete a full-time position for medical care at the Buzz Westfall Justice Center (Saint Louis County Jail), Juvenile Detention at Family Courts and Lakeside Center.
Together, these physicians provide direct patient care, collaborative agreements with the full-time physician assistant, nurse practitioner, clinical pharmacist, and administrative leadership for a vibrant interprofessional collaborative practice.
The Intake Division operates out of the law enforcement lobby 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In intake, an RN provides an initial health screening to every new arrestee and determines (sometimes with the direction of the provider on call) whether a new arrestee can be accepted into the facility. These nurses also provide care to the people awaiting disposition in ISC; this includes acute, routine and chronic care.
The Infirmary houses both medical (11 beds) and mental health patients (16 beds) in a mini-hospital setting, where RNs and MAs provide care to patients 24 hours a day. The care in this area ranges from initial evaluation and stabilization or urgent/emergent conditions to management of chronic medical conditions.
Conditions range from those associated with ICU discharges and mental hospital transfers to high-need chronic care such as extensive dressing changes and post-trauma care.
The Medication Room staff administers medications to inmates that are housed in general population and special housing in the Justice Center. Nurses are available daily for sick calls. The nurses assess inmates, provide established protocols of care and referral and triage for medical and mental health appointments.
Residents are seen in the Ambulatory Care Clinic Monday through Friday for acute or chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, epilepsy, hepatitis, HIV, asthma, wound care and mental health care. The clinic also provides specialty care in orthopaedics, women's health and dentistry. As an ACA-accredited facility, all inmates receive a secondary floor assessment by a registered nurse within 14 days of admission.
As a part of this assessment, inmates are screened for gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Syphilis, HIV and tuberculosis. (Corrections Medicine has been recognized by the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention as one of the few jail health care programs in the nation where these screening tests are administered).
All RNs are oriented and cross-trained to all areas of the facility for more efficient staffing, teamwork and patient care.
The Corrections Medicine staff has an annual minimum requirement of 12 hours of continuing education per calendar year. These continuing education hours are provided through on-site in-service programs, during general staff meetings, self-study articles posted for staff utilization and an annual skills day. All of the corrections medicine staff is certified in basic life support, such as CPR. All RNs are additionally certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support.