KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Texas Prison Health Care System To Lay Off Nearly 12 Percent Of Workforce

Austin American-Statesman: The state institution that provides health services to Texas state prisoners will lay off 363 workers because of budget cuts. "The announcement is expected to ramp up concerns over a growing state budget crisis - and how Texas can continue to pay for a massive prison health care system that gobbles tens of millions of additional taxpayer dollars each year ... The university employs more than 3,100 people in its correctional managed care program, part of a prison health care program that is costing taxpayers more than $800 million in the current two-year budget" (Ward, 5/18). 

The Associated Press/Houston Chronicle: "The president of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston ...  said the program faced a projected $82 million deficit in the 2010-11." Since 1993, UTMB has been responsible for providing care at 112 of the state's prisons. "Texas Tech University provides health care to the other 20 percent of state inmates" (5/18).

My Fox Houston: "costs had increased in recent years due to an aging prison population and increasing occurrences in chronic diseases such as AIDS, hepatitis C, and others"  (Perera, 5/18).

Meanwhile, the San Francisco Chronicle reports that California is spending "hundreds of millions of dollars a year on health care for a small group of sick inmates - in one case $1 million during a dying inmate's final year, according to a state audit released Tuesday. The state also spends billions of extra dollars on the longer sentences handed down under the state's 'three strikes' law in part because those inmates age in prison and need health care, the report by State Auditor Elaine Howle found" (Lagos, 5/19). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.