complicates

Otay Mesa detainees say shift of health services to private contractor complicates care

After spending the first part of the pandemic in the public spotlight for a large COVID-19 outbreak at Otay Mesa Detention Center, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has contracted out medical care at the facility to the private prison company that owns and operates it.

Detainees interviewed by the San Diego Union-Tribune say the medical care, which had already been criticized by them and their advocates, has grown even worse than it was under ICE.

Detainees complained of missed and late medications, multiple-day waits for medical attention and a lack of transfer of records that left staff in the dark about what treatment individual detainees were supposed to be receiving. It has also meant that those who had been approved for specialty care, such as oncology and orthopedics, would have to begin the lengthy process anew.

“The first couple of days, it was chaos,” said Guillermo Alvarez Mendonza, a detainee with

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