Elective Rotation: California State Prison – CMF
Location: Vacaville, CA
I spent two weeks working at the California Medical Facility (CMF), a male-only California state prison medical facility in Vacaville, California. Dr. Michele Ditomas, a former UCSF Family Medicine graduate, organized the rotation and tailored it to my interests. I rounded on patients in the hospice wing and learned about its history from the chaplain and several of the inmates who serve as caretakers for patients there. There was a recent New York Times article about the hospice wing, which is the only prison hospice wing in the state (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/05/16/magazine/health-issue-convicted-prisoners-becoming-caregivers.html). I worked in the urgent care area, where there are four beds, lab, and x-ray and patients are seen for more urgent concerns and triaged to be sent out to hospitals if needed. I also completed medicine consults for patients admitted to the mental health crisis locked unit and step-down unit. I worked in the ambulatory care center seeing patients for routine primary care issues. I consulted with the Infectious Disease doctor on patients admitted for coccidioimycosis, neurosyphilis, and complications from AIDS. Overall, this was an interesting opportunity not only to learn about the lives of prisoners, physicians, and staff in the prison, but also about complicated and less common medical issues. Generally I worked from 8am to 4pm with a break for lunch. I was able to learn their EMR system (Cerner) after a brief training. Vacaville is about 75 minutes from Santa Rosa, 45 minutes from Sacramento, and 45 minutes from Berkeley. Inmates, officers, preceptors, nurses, and other staff were kind, patient and grateful to have resident involvement.