Appropriations subcommittee approves prison health care savings
Share this Article: Twitter Facebook Republish Print
YouTube Video

Published: 29-Mar-2011

Legislation approved yesterday (Tuesday, March 29) by the House Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee on Public Safety would give the Department of Corrections more flexibility in how it addresses the health care needs of Oklahoma inmates, advocates say.

 Senate Bill 180 is cosponsored by state Sen. Susan Paddack of 

Ada and state Rep. Doug Cox of Grove. According to a summary by House staff, the bill would allow the Department of Corrections to contract with physicians and other providers of health care services, equipment and health care-related products beyond the professional capabilities of the agency.

 In a sketch provided to CapitolBeatOK, the Department of Corrections, if the legislation had been in effect in fiscal year 2010, would have saved approximately $2 million in medical costs.

 “Properly addressing a health care need early can prevent a greater cost in trying to address the condition after it has worsened,” said Cox, an emergency room physician. “Allowing this agency to contract with private health care entities ensures that they can meet any prisoner’s need promptly and thus save taxpayer dollars that would otherwise be spent on a problem that had snowballed into something more costly.”

 The legislation was approved unanimously in the state Senate, Cox said.

 “It’s a bipartisan issue that will help us address the very serious shortfall we are facing,” said Dr. Cox. “I am proud to be the House author of this legislation.”

 Senate Bill 180 now proceeds to the House Appropriations and Budget Committee for further consideration.

sign up for email updates

Steal Our Stuff