SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah is calling on Governor Cox and the Utah Department of Corrections to more rapidly address a medical records issue affecting thousands of prisoners statewide.

“This has really left some of our most vulnerable people in Utah without any care,” said Aaron Welcher with ALCU of Utah.

The issues come in the wake of a massive transition — as prisoners were transferred from the Utah State Prison in Draper to the new Utah State Correctional Facility in Salt Lake City.

“After the move, there was a merging with a new medical record. And that new record apparently lost all of these refill medications. So inmates started running out of meds,” said Virginia Robertson, a former nurse practitioner who advocates for Utah inmates.

“It really is truly an emergency,” added Robertson.

The new health records software is called Fusion.

“It would be very, very difficult to go backward to even the system that we left,” said Brian Nielson with Utah Dept. of Corrections.

“Along with the move and all those things, it would be very difficult to go backward. The path that I see to success is going forward with Fusion at this time,” added Nielson.

A full statement from the Dept. of Corrections reads:

On August 1, Fusion (a vendor contracted with the Utah Department of Corrections) launched a new
Electronic Health Records system to help manage care in correctional facilities. Within a matter of days,
it became apparent that there were some problems with the roll-out. The scope of those issues is still
being uncovered, but a glitch that initially seemed to cause isolated patients to fail to receive medication
refills, soon ballooned into a system-wide health data migration issue.

The Utah Department of Corrections (UDC) has already received support from the Governor’s Office, the
Utah Department of Health and Human Services, and local pharmacies to rectify the problem. This week,
UDC increased their medical presence with patients throughout the prison system to confirm the accuracy
of prescriptions.

The Utah Department of Health and Human Services has provided four pharmacists, five pharmacy
technicians, and a total of 26 medical representatives including, registered nurses, physicians assistants,
and advanced practice nurses.

Staff throughout UDC’s Clinical Services Bureau, and other UDC personnel, are continuing to work
tirelessly to correct data and fill prescriptions.

UDC is grateful for partnerships with the University of Utah Medical Center’s Midvalley Pharmacy,
Gunnison Family Pharmacy, and other pharmacies throughout the state to increase its capacity to deliver
medications.

UDC fills 750-1,000 prescriptions on a typical day; on Monday, UDC filled 2,000. UDC’s Planning and
Research Bureau, and the state Division of Technology Services are assisting the software developers in
auditing data and digging into technical details.

“Our medical providers have been putting in long, dedicated hours to manage the care of incarcerated
individuals. We are making significant progress and we will not be satisfied until it is completely
resolved.” said Brian Nielson, executive director with the Utah Department of Corrections.

“We are grateful for their service, and we truly appreciate the support of all our state partners and other agencies who are assisting during this critical time.”

As part of UDC’s regular process, if incarcerated individuals have an urgent medical concern, they can
notify the officer in their housing section. If incarcerated individuals need to be seen by medical or have a
prescription filled, they can submit a health care request form (available on their housing unit) to be seen.
And anyone concerned that their incarcerated loved one is not receiving critical medications is
encouraged to contact UDC.

While the data migration to this new system has posed immense challenges, UDC recognizes the severity
of the crisis at hand and will continue to be transparent and accountable to repair the issues and restore
confidence that all incarcerated individuals will reliably receive their medications in a timely and accurate
manner. UDC continues to communicate directly with families of incarcerated individuals. UDC
anticipates that when all the issues are ironed out with the Fusion Electronic Health Records system, it
will provide vast systemic improvements and successfully phase out an antiquated database
.