Health Care and Administration Must Collaborate for Effective Care

By Riggin, Viola | Corrections Today, June 2010 | Go to article overview

Health Care and Administration Must Collaborate for Effective Care


Riggin, Viola, Corrections Today


In correctional health care, whether you find yourself in a clinical mid-management position or a central management position, decisions are required to be made quickly and competently. Sometimes, none of the available options looks very attractive. With all the challenges, learning opportunities and late nights in the office, one may wonder: Is it worth the effort? Striving for excellence as a manager requires fully understanding the manager's role. Within the correctional health care system, it involves bringing together the interests of administrators and security personnel, who may compete for attention and be at odds when trying to find solutions.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Excellence in clinical services is achieved when facility staff routinely, and as a whole unit, perform their functions for the right reasons at the appropriate times, and in accordance with community and industry standards. Building this functional synergy takes a strong manager, careful planning and long-term goals.

Mental health programming in particular requires planning and leadership to incorporate a therapeutic influence within the environment of a correctional facility. Mental health managers find themselves balancing resources to deal with the constraints of budget cuts, too little staff for the workload and restriction of access to the client, while monitoring clinical practices to ensure shortcuts are not taken. Obviously, money is an important resource, and that resource translates to improved services. The better we maintain fiscal reasonability the better service we can provide. By applying proper money management and quality communications skills, and by implementing priority outcomes within a facility, managers can accomplish great works with very little resources even while practicing within the most restrictive environment.

While mental health managers take an active role in clinical management, it is the health service administrators who are responsible for negotiating professional boundaries between health care staff and wardens. …

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