Costs of Health Care in Correctional Facilities

Health services can make up anywhere from nine to thirty percent of corrections costs. There are several methods that prisons have tested to contain costs. Reducing both costs and demand for services have been studied, but the approaches of various correctional facilities in the US are very different.

Three important ways to reduce costs could be:

1. implementing and expanding telemedicine. This can decrease costly and sometimes unsafe patient transportation and increase access to specialists.

2.  implementing new technologies to decrease the time nurses spend dispensing medication. Automating many of these tasks could help decrease medical errors and improve quality of care.

3. working with other facilities to increase their economies of scale, correctional facilities could raise their bargaining power and negotiate lower costs for medications with providers.

Currently, there is no singular list of “best practices” for correctional facilities; programs are implemented as needed. Researchers conclude there is no “one-size fits all solution,” and that additional research must occur to determine cost saving strategies that provide the most effective results.

Emre Umar

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