“We have successfully managed to increase efficiency in medical care for prisoners, while concurrently lessening the burden on taxpayers.”
- Lt. Gov. Steve Pence
As a result of an innovative partnership that has prospered under Gov. Fletcher's administration, Kentucky taxpayers now pay almost 40 percent less for inmate medical care. These savings translate into more than $9 million in the first full fiscal year, and are expected to continue.
“We have successfully managed to increase efficiency in medical care for prisoners, while concurrently lessening the burden on taxpayers,” said Lt. Gov. Steve Pence, who is also Secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet. “I am confident this partnership will continue to evolve and assist the state as we face future challenges in inmate health care matters.”
The Kentucky Corrections Health Services Network (KCHSN) is a collaboration between the Kentucky Department of Corrections, the University of Kentucky and CorrectCare, a private sector health management firm based in Lexington. KCHSN is a statewide health network that provides for the hospital and specialty care for more than 18,000 state inmates across the commonwealth. Prior to the partnership, the 13 prisons and 75 jails across the state decided individually how to provide health-care services.
“This important initiative is just one more example of how the University of Kentucky is reaching out beyond the classroom to help change Kentucky for the better. An important part of our mission – and how we plan to become a Top 20 public research university – is forming partnerships across the commonwealth to improve health care and education and create economic opportunity,” said UK President Lee T. Todd, Jr. “We applaud the leadership of Gov. Fletcher, Lt. Gov. Pence and his team for helping creating this innovative collaboration that is saving Kentucky millions of dollars and improving the efficient delivery of health care.”
This same network is now reaching into the next phase of inmate medical care as it recently launched a new wireless electronic medical record system. The system is up and running at four of the state’s prisons and a fifth prison should be online within a few weeks.
The wireless electronic network is projected to save the Corrections Department over $350,000 per year, but more importantly will reduce the threat to public safety by cutting down on the number of times inmates are transported out of prisons and jails to see the doctor. These electronic consultations, when able to be used, will cost far less than an actual specialist visit and still provide quality care for the inmate without utilizing valuable staff time and resources.
“The aging prison population, coupled with the medical implications of a long history of substance abuse, makes controlling medical costs one of the most difficult tasks I face as commissioner of Corrections,” said John D. Rees. “Our partnership with UK and CorrectCare these two years has been extremely rewarding and while overall expenditures for healthcare have grown, we have been able to reduce our rate of growth and bring about significant reductions in certain areas. This public-private partnership offers continuing opportunities for savings and innovations.”
With the new wireless electronic network, prison medical providers now go from exam room to exam room providing care to inmates while documenting their notes, prescriptions and other orders on a tablet PC. The tablet computer then immediately updates the official electronic medical record for that inmate by sending information wirelessly to a computer server where medical records are stored.
Statewide implementation of the wireless network is expected by April 1.
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