Re­port: Prison health-care costs sta­bi­lize

The Covington News - - THE WIRE -

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — States are spend­ing slightly less on pris­oner health care af­ter nearly a decade of steady in­creases, ac­cord­ing to a re­port re­leased Tues­day.

The re­port from the Pew Char­i­ta­ble Trusts found that in most states, prison health care spend­ing peaked at $8.2 bil­lion in 2009 af­ter nearly a decade of dra­matic in­creases. But by 2011 that to­tal had dropped slightly to $7.7 bil­lion, partly be­cause prison pop­u­la­tions de­creased.

“How states man­age health care in pris­ons af­fects not only in­mates’ well-be­ing but also pub­lic safety and tax­pay­ers’ to­tal cor­rec­tions bill,” said Maria Schiff, di­rec­tor of the Pew project.

Schiff said the re­searchers iden­ti­fied four ways the states could fur­ther re­duce those costs, in­clud­ing Med­i­caid ex­pan­sion, strate­gic use of tele­health ser­vices, ef­fec­tive man­age­ment of pri­vate health care con­tracts and grant­ing el­derly or in­firm in­mates early pa­role when ap­pro­pri­ate.

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