Would You Want to Get In The Prison Healthcare Mess Either?

There has been a proposal floating around Sacramento that calls for the UC system, which has a plethora of really outstanding medical schools and associated hospitals, to take over prisoner healthcare.  You know, that mess that has been under federal receivership for its unconstitutionality? Well, the Governor thinks, why not do a little Glee-style mashup between the UC hospitals (good) and the prison healthcare system (disaster)?  Why not indeed?

University of California leaders made clear Thursday that they were not in a rush to embrace a controversial proposal for UC to provide healthcare for state prison inmates, with an emphasis on connecting doctors and patients remotely over the Internet.

The UC regents were scheduled to discuss the issue at a meeting in San Francisco but delayed it for at least two months, deciding to form a committee to study the plan and other options. “This is a very complicated issue, and we are going to have to spend a great deal of time to determine how and if the university is going to get involved,” regents Chairman Russell S. Gould said at the meeting.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed having UC, with its prestigious medical schools, manage healthcare for prison inmates; a recent report by a consultant estimated that the change could save the state $12 billion over a decade. Besides the expansion of telemedicine, the plan calls for a special hospital for chronically ill inmates, reducing the need for overtime pay for prison guards for hospitalized patients. (LA Times)

In the end, what will probably end up happening is that there will be some advisory or small scale involvement between the UC and the prison healthcare system that will probably only make the situation more confusing.

But, if the UC deal does happen, and they do take over the health care systems, I think we may end up seeing crime sprees by the elderly and a rash of crimes from cancer victims. Heck, even with the healthcare reform bill, insurance ain’t cheap.

I kidd of course. As it stands right now, the prison system basically holds on to sick prisoners and slowly watches them die. Until recently, resources were dangerously lacking.  Much of that is changing with the receivership, as you would expect.  But the pricetag of all this remains high.

2 thoughts on “Would You Want to Get In The Prison Healthcare Mess Either?”

  1. Well that’s a clever hack, but there’s no way I’d want UC taking on that one.  It’d be just another thing the state could underpay the system to do that we’d be unable to drop.

    Also I’m not sure our staff would take kindly to dealing with this type of thing at all.  It’s a noble thing to do, but if the savings are going to come from not having prison guards around… not exactly the environment some of the most qualified people would want to work in.  It might seriously affect recruitment and retention rates which is a pretty big issue.

    I mean don’t get me wrong, I think this is a clever proposal simply because someone found two pieces that fit together in a seemingly unfixable problem and I’m usually the first to mention that the UC’s responsibilities are incredibly wide-ranging… but I’m not sure about this one.

    Will be interesting to see what the Regents come up with.

  2. The medical system at state prisons is so sad that this proposal has to be looked at seriously.  

    I say it’s worth a try to see if the UC folks can make it work.  At a minimum, the Regents should approve a pilot program at 3-4 prisons an then evaluate it after a year or two.  

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