|Charles R. Mathews, M.D.|
|John G. Burke
Chief of Health Services Administration
|David L. Thomas, M.D.
Chief of Health Services
"The Assistant Secretary of Health Services...shall be responsible for the delivery of health services to offenders within the system and shall have direct professional authority over such services." (F.S. 20.315(3)(g))
The Office of Health Services is responsible for the physical and mental health of each of Florida's state prison inmates. Its specific areas of responsibility include inmate medical, dental and mental health issues; nursing staff for prison hospitals; infection control; elderly and impaired inmates; quality management, environmental health and health administration; health-related reports and statistics; health-related inmate grievances; inmate health education; and corrective action plans. During FY 1995-96, 3.1 million health care encounters were provided by the department.Accomplishments in FY 1995-96:
The DC's cost containment efforts were recognized by the American College of Physician Executives National Awards Program "as an innovation and a significant advance in medical management." Consequently, the DC's medical cost containment strategies were included in the nationally distributed Innovations '96, a compilation of innovative health care initiatives published by the College each year. Kudos to John G. Burke, Chief of the DC's Health Services Administration.
Some examples of the Office of Health Services costs containment accomplishments include:
In accordance with Florida law, the Department of Corrections began charging a $3.00 copayment for inmate health care in January 1995. The charge is for inmate initiated, non-emergency visits only. Health services cannot be denied to those inmates lacking financial resources.
Exceptions: Inmate health emergencies are not charged copayment fees, and certain situations or medical requirements, which are non-emergency in nature, but may directly impact the health and welfare of the inmate population, such as voluntary HIV testing, do not incur the $3.00 copayment charge.
Visits Decrease, Appeals Increase: In the first year of copayment charges, monthly non-emergency clinic visits declined by 13 percent and the monthly number of clinic visits per inmate was 22 percent below the previous year's use rate. First year assessed copayments totaled $407,553 and of this amount, 72 percent or $293,515 had been collected by year's end. An additional impact of the copayment program was seen in the total number of health related appeals which increased 54 percent in 1995 compared to 1994. In a monthly average of 248 health related appeals, 21 percent were related to copayments.
Getting the Word Out: Information regarding the copayment program and attendant application procedures are required to be provided to the inmates during in-processing and are also required to be conspicuously posted. Medical personnel receive copayment training, and the program is included as an item of health services' inspection interest. The Office of Health Services monitors the number of copayment grievances recorded on a monthly basis.
The Office of Health Services is mandated to provide a standard level of health care. Within the scope of this standard of care, the inmate copayment program has reduced unnecessary utilization and generated additional revenue, while neither filtering nor otherwise discriminating in the provision of, or access to, required health services.Inmate Mortality
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