Board of Public Works Approves Inmate Health Care Contracts
Will save taxpayer money while providing more services
TOWSON, MD (May 2, 2012 ) ---The State Board of Public Works today approved new inmate health care contracts that will help DPSCS save taxpayers money while adding services that will hopefully send inmates home in better health when they leave the system.
The contracts provide healthcare---including mental health services--- to DPSCS’ approximately 26,000 inmates and detainees. The average annual cost for the services is approximately $120 million. Each of the two contracts runs through June 30, 2017.
The contracts provide for more nurses; release planners; full time IT people to maintain electronic medical records; bill reviewers who will search for third-party insurance to further reduce costs during hospital admissions; and increased use of telemedicine services, which means fewer costly hospital admissions, reduce related transportation and security expenses, all while increasing public safety.
Inmate medical care is Constitutionally-mandated. DPSCS has striven to reduce the overall cost while better managing chronic care, hospital admissions, and serious conditions such as HIV and hepatitis. The new medical contract will build on the improvements made to inmate medical over the last five years, making inmates healthier and the delivery of care more efficient and cost effective.
By modernizing record keeping, the auditing of services, and utilizing technology to provide outside medical consultation, this cost-neutral contract will ensure the Department’s ability to keep costs down in the years to come.
“This was a long road, but in the end, we came away with excellent, expanded services for inmates at a manageable cost and with extensive oversight,” said Gary D. Maynard, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.
Wexford of Pittsburgh, PA was awarded the main medical care contract, with a five-year bid of up to $598 million. No Maryland companies were among the finalists, which were selected based on the “technical ranking” of their services and the bid amount.
Baltimore-based MHM was awarded the contract to provide mental health services, which will include more nurses in the DPSCS mental health unit in Jessup, as well as more lab services and treatment programs. That contract is for $72.8 million.