Thursday, April 03, 2008

AIDS drugs, healthcare for elderly inmates driving TDCJ medical costs

Here's a mind blowing statistic about health care costs in Texas prisons that came out at yesterday's Senate Criminal Justice Committee hearing: A whopping 48% of TDCJ's total pharmacy budget goes to pay for drugs for inmates with HIV.

Chairman Whitmire asked the Correctional Managed Health Care Committee executive director Alan Hightower to compile for him a list of the top ten most expensive inmates in terms of medical costs and their parole status. The assumption is that the state is eating high medical costs for inmates who could be released and treated safely in the free world. According to Sen. Whitmire, TDCJ recommends about 70 or more inmates per month for medical-based parole, but the parole board on average releases just 10% of them.

A past analysis showed the most expensive inmates cost the state more than $1 million per year in healthcare costs, so it'll be interesting to learn whether it's still true that TDCJ's most expensive inmates are mostly eligible for parole.

The Committee expressed concern that inmates who could be released into a hospice or nursing home facility (where the feds through Medicaid would pay 2/3 of the cost), are being held in TDCJ even though they're bedridden and immobile. Dee Wilson of the Office on Offenders with Medical or Mental Impairments told senators that "many" offenders recommended for medical release pass away before the parole board gets around to their case. Around 40 inmates per month die in Texas prisons.


Anonymous said...

When is someone really going to join the dots on all this?
Inmates who are eligible for parole and have clean disciplinary records and support at home are denied parole by the BPP.
Inmates who are bedridden and imobile AND recommended for medical parole by TDCJ themselves, are either denied by the BPP or the BPP dont prioritise those cases so that the inmate dies in prison anyway.

I have had no reply to my question to Tom Craddick as to whom the BPP are supposed to give their explanations when they deviate from their own guidelines in awarding parole, and somehow I dont think I will get one. Its all fine words and no real substance.

The BPP and TDCJ are not closed religious orders, they are public servants and its about time they were made to behave that way.

Anonymous said...

Prisons such as Sky View, Hodge, Boyd and others are little more than nursing homes. Most of these losers are no longer a physical threat to anyone---yet they stay incarcerated. I guess the BPP morons like the idea of state taxpayers paying for the prescriptions and healthcare of these old men---rather than federal programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. The people of Texas should be holding street demonstrations over this stuff and carrying lighted torches and pitchforks like in an old Frankenstein movie, yet they do nothing. Good, then go bankrupt you knaves. Maybe Texas is waiting for a bailout from Obama? You are in for a long wait Texas.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully these health costs will skyrocket until the right people in Austin and Huntsville learn their lesson. Prison is for the threats, not the infirm that who endanger no one. If Texas can't figure this one out--well great, they can care for those who would otherwise be on Medicare and Medicaid. The federal social security administration is most grateful for the Texas maroons that like to imprison men over 50 who can't walk 100 yards before having to sit down.

Anonymous said...

I have a relative in the Skyview/Hodge complex and I am glad he is there since our family couldn't even hope to pay for his health treatment if he were on the outside; and this is assuming he would be on the entire Medicare program, parts A through D.

Rabidly conservative Texans are the greatest in my book. Please keep up the good work.