Los Angeles County approves $17M for EMR in juvenile detention facilities

Plenty has been said about the potential for EMRs and telemedicine to improve the woeful state of care in America's prisons, but juvenile detention facilities often get left out of the discussion.

On Tuesday, Los Angeles County supervisors approved $17 million in funding for an EMR system to manage the medical records of the more than 1,500 youngsters being held in county juvenile camps and halls. The EMR is intended to improve record keeping in the county's Probation Department, which federal authorities have cited multiple times in recent years for keeping inadequate medical records on youths in custody.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the U.S. Department of Justice has said the poor record-keeping has resulted in "inconsistent or inappropriate treatment and medication." Los Angeles County currently faces the threat of a civil-rights lawsuit that could strip county officials of some of their control over the Probation Department, the newspaper says.

Though juvenile detainees often get moved between facilities in Los Angeles County, paper records don't always follow them. The EMR is intended to rectify that problem. The Probation Department's CIO says the unspecified system should be in place in 15 to 18 months.

To learn more:
- have a look at this Los Angeles Times story