Monday, February 12, 2007

Faculty blog fears poor healthcare for Texas prisoners gives UTMB a 'black eye'

The Faculty Association at UTMB Galveston has been watching the Dallas jail fiasco from afar, and they couldn't help but notice their own employer's prominent role and alleged culpability. See these related posts from the UTMB-Galveston Faculty Association's blog:
UTMB no longer oversees healthcare at the Dallas jail (that unhappy task has fallen to Parkland hospital, Dallas' county public hospital), but the school still is the primary healthcare provider for the Texas prison system. LBB told the House Appropriations Criminal Justice Subcommittee last week that Texas taxpayers spend approximately $758 million per biennium on prison healtchare, even after budget cuts in 2003 that forced them "to lay off 370 medical employees and curtail some services at all but 25 of its 80 prison clinics."

Long sentences are causing elderly prisoners' healthcare costs to rise, but UTMB's per prisoner expenditures haven't increased in several years. Officials told the Sunset Advisory Commission in response to questioning that Texas is "very close" to failing to provide a minimum constitutional level of care. Whether that's true, of course, would be up to a court to decide. If Dallas jail healthcare is any indication, UTMB may be overstating their effectiveness.

MORE on Dallas jail healthcare from DallasBlog.

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