Monday, March 25, 2013

Will 'competition' among universities solve Texas prisoner healthcare problems?

At the Austin Statesman, Mike Ward reported on a suggestion recently endorsed by the Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee to expand the number of medical schools that could participate in prisoner health care, ostensibly to increase "competition" by allowing six additional schools to participate if they so choose. He'd first reported on this proposition back in summer of 2011. Grits has suggested before that "Universities won't flock to participate in money losing health care," and coupled with necessary security training and facilities alterations that most schools aren't immediately able to implement without notice (here's a worst case scenario if they don't), this at most is a "down the road" possibility, not something I'd expect to see significantly alter who carries the brunt of prisoner healthcare in the next biennium. Down the road, you never know. Somebody would have to step up and want it while today, them that have it would like to get rid of it.

There's nothing wrong with the provision of prisoner healthcare today by UTMB and Texas Tech that an extra $110 million for the biennium wouldn't fix. Cutbacks to front-line providers were necessary to meet the last round of cuts, so  if they leave the prison healthcare budget at current levels, I'd be surprised to see many university medical schools "compete" for the chance to join UTMB and Texas Tech in a perennially money losing proposition. Why would they?


Prison Doc said...

We are not seeing any good news--yet--on prison healthcare funding. This most recently published monstrosity does not warm the cockles of my heart. I fear that many healthcare professionals and ancillary staff who have been holding on hoping for a restoration of adequate funding may give up and move on elsewhere.

There are probably some inefficiencies in the existing systems, but I fear not enough to make a big dollar difference even if fixed.

Anonymous said...

I worked in the medical field for years before becoming an inmate advocate. One of my observations is that there is NO preventative medicine for inmates and seldom any quality care upon first complaint. The longer issues are allowed to fester, the more expensive and difficult they will be to correct. Why are inmates dieing of infections and other "minor" problems when there are a variety of antibiotics and other medicines to treat these things? So many inmates are reluctant to see a provider because of the co-pay then once they have been charged this ridiculous co-pay, they feel they need to get their monies worth and ask for lay ins for everything. Another issue that isn't addressed is the elder care in prisons. The dollars spent for prison nursing home care is far above that of private or free world care, why are these terminal inmates not released to other facilities that would provide better and less expensive care?
I have also looked into the background of many of the staff and they are not the quality providers that need to be used in a situation like inmate care. Contrary to popular belief, the better the provider and the sooner things are dealt with the less money things cost in the long run. Healthy inmates would be a big savings......just like healthy citizens are a savings to health care costs.

Anonymous said...

Tremendous amount of waste in the system through administrative salaries and unnecessary activities. Whole system need reorganization. TDCJ medical should be dissolved and the whole thing run by UTMB.