Medical & Mental Health
The Spokane County Detention Services Medical and Mental Health Units is a managed health care delivery system with the mission of ensuring the delivery of comprehensive health care services to individuals who are detained in the custody of the Detention Services Department; ensuring the provision of emergency, acute, and basic medical/mental health care to all inmates in a timely manner; taking all necessary precautions to prevent the spread of communicable and contagious diseases; and maintaining a stable health status for inmate/patients.
Spokane County Detention Services employs a partnership of staff and contract health professionals to provide medical and mental health services on-site. Staff members consist of a physician, psychiatrists, a dentist, Registered Nurses, Licensed Vocational Nurses, Mental Health Professionals, Mental Health Case Workers, medical records staff, clerks and administrators. Specialty services such as OB prenatal care for all pregnant inmates is available on-site. Hospitalization and specialty clinics complete this health care system, which meets community standards.
Registered Nurses screen every inmate’s medical history when they are accepted into the jail system. Screening is done for emergency, acute, and chronic medical and mental health needs.
Privately provided medications are not administered in jail. Medication ordered by the Detention Services physician will be provided through one of the pharmacies contracted with Detention Services. If you want to ensure our Medical staff is aware of an inmate’s medication, you may call the Jail Information line and ask to speak with a member of the Medical staff.
At the time of admission to the jail, inmates are instructed how to request a sick call visit. Requests to attend sick call are reviewed by a Registered Nurse within 24 hours. Inmates are never denied medical treatment due to a lack of funds.
All inmates are screened during the booking process to obtain information regarding current medical diagnoses and prescriptions. A Release of Information Form is sent to the inmate for signature, typically within the first 24 hours to obtain current medical records and prescription information from the inmate's Primary Care Provider. Once this information is received, it is given to the Detention Services Physician for review. Medication may be ordered at this time and administered to the inmate once received from the pharmacy.
To help the medical and mental health staff ensure continuity of care, you can:
- Notify the Detention services Medical Department of your expected incarceration (if known) to begin the medication initiation process
- Request that your Primary Care Provider fax your current medical records to the County Detention Services Medical Department Download the Release of Information Form.
- Bring with you copies of current medical prescriptions and health records
While most routine medical care is provided within Detention Services, it is occasionally necessary to transport an inmate to a hospital for care. For security reasons, details of the date, time, and location of those transports are not made available. If an inmate is admitted to a hospital, visiting is not allowed.
Detention Services Medical Administration may approve private provider appointments after review. All costs for the provider, diagnostic tests, and transportation fees must be pre-paid, and will not be undertaken by the County.
Private physicians will not be allowed to conduct examinations in the Detention Services facilities.
Medical information will not be given to family or friends due to federal and state privacy laws. The patient may give medical updates to their family and friends. Medical staff accepts medical or mental health information and will follow up with the individual. In order to obtain medical or mental health information, the inmate must sign a “Release of Information” form, designating you, by name and phone number, as the party authorized to receive the information.
Mental Health Services
In addition to the Medical Services offered in Detention Services, a comprehensive range of mental health services is also offered. Initial psychiatric assessments are conducted to determine the need for such care. Mental Health staff provides these assessments, schedule follow-up services and advises Classification staff regarding inmate placement or special housing requirements.
Mental health screening services are provided to the following inmate patients:
- Inmates who are interested in receiving psychiatric care while in custody without previous psychiatric care in the community.
- Inmates who, after being assessed by mental health staff, are believed to require psychiatric services while in custody.
Patients in crisis are seen immediately and other patients are seen in as timely a fashion as possible, with urgent referrals being made within 24 hours. Mental health services are also available to less acute patients.
Psychiatric clinic services are available seven days per week, and medication may be prescribed. Short term crisis intervention is available, and may be requested by any jail staff member or by the inmate. Discharge planning and case management are available to provide continuity of care upon the inmate’s release to the community.
Supporting and coping with a loved one who suffers from a mental health disorder can be extremely challenging and stressful. You can provide strong and effective support during this important time by doing the following:
- When contacted by the inmate, stay calm and offer your support.
- Reassure the inmate of the right to legal representation, and assist in making contact with a lawyer if necessary. Attorneys familiar with mental health issues may be especially helpful.
- Tell the inmate that a screening will be conducted for mental health issues, and that it is OK to discuss medical and mental health concerns with nursing and mental health staff. It is important that inmates feel safe to speak openly with these professionals.
- Obtain your friend or relative’s booking number. If you speak with the inmate by phone, ask them to read the booking number printed on their wristband. You may also look up the booking number by checking the Inmate Roster link on the Detention Services Website.
- If release is unlikely to occur soon, and you are concerned about important information reaching Medical/Mental Health staff, you may call the facility’s Information line and ask to speak to a member of the medical staff.
You may wish to contact a support group.