by Clive Riddle, July 10, 2014
The State Health Care Spending Project, an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, has been monitoring and analyzing prison healthcare costs for some time, and Pew has just released a new 32-page report: State Prison Health Care Spending: An Examination.
This is on the heels of their report Managing Prison Health Care Spending first released last October, which covered the period of 2001 – 2008, and found that spending sharply increased in most states during that time period. The new report analyzes spending from 2007 – 2011 and found “state spending on prisoner health care increased from fiscal years 2007 to 2011, but it is trending downward from its peak in 2009.”
The new report concludes: “Correctional health care spending poses a fiscal challenge to state lawmakers, though evidence indicates that spending peaked at the end of the last decade. The situation posed by these expenses may be particularly acute in states where older inmates represent a relatively large proportion of the prison population. Corrections officials will be better positioned to manage their systems effectively with access to rigorous, disaggregated spending and health outcomes data that can be used to identify cost drivers and to evaluate the value and impact of cost-containment initiatives.”
Here’s a compilation of various analysis and findings from the new report, by the numbers:
4 key variable characteristics that affect delivery of health care and increase costs include: (A) Prison population trend; (B) Older inmates, greater expense; (C) Prevalence of disease and mental illness. And (D) Location and inmate transportation.
4 strategies being used to manage costs are: (A) use of telehealth technologies; (B) outsourcing of prison health care, (C) enrollment of prisoners in Medicaid, and (D) appropriately paroling older and/or ill inmates.
37% of health care spending was on general medical care (20% was on hospitalizations; 14% on pharmaceuticals; 14% on mental health; 5% on substance abuse)
39 States saw per-inmate health care spending rise from fiscal 2007-2011, with a median growth of 10%.
41 States experienced growth in their correctional health care spending from fiscal 2007-2011, with a median increase of 13%.
34 States saw their total correctional health care spending peak before fiscal 2011
40 Of 42 states surveyed experienced a rise in the share of older inmates from fiscal 2007-2011
204% increase in the number of state and federal prisoners age 55 and older
$441 million - The amount of California’s decrease in spending from fiscal 2009 to 2011 accounting for most of the national decline of half a billion dollars during that time
$7.7 billion total prison health care spending in fiscal 2011
$8.2 billion total prison health care spending in fiscal 2009