National Survey of Prison Health Care: Selected Findings

Source: Karishma A. Chari, Alan E. Simon, Carol J. DeFrances, Laura Maruschak National Health Statistics Reports (NHSR), No. 96, July 28, 2016

Objectives—This report presents selected findings on the provision of health care services in U.S. state prisons. Findings on admissions testing for infectious disease, cardiovascular risk factors, and mental health conditions, as well as the location of the provision of care and utilization of telemedicine are all included.
Methods—Data are from the National Survey of Prison Health Care (NSPHC). The survey aimed to conduct semi-structured telephone interviews with respondents from all 50 state Departments of Corrections and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Interviews were conducted in 2012 for calendar year 2011. The level of participation varied by state and questionnaire item.
Results—Overall, 45 states participated in NSPHC. In 2011, the percentages of prison admissions occurring in states that tested at least some prisoners for the following conditions during the admissions process were: 76.9% for hepatitis A, 82.0% for hepatitis B, 87.3% for hepatitis C, 100.0% for tuberculosis, 100.0% for mental health conditions and suicide risk, 40.3% for traumatic brain injury, 82.5% for cardiovascular conditions and risk factors using electrocardiogram, 70.0% for elevated lipids, and 99.8% for high blood pressure.
Of the 45 states that participated in the survey, most states delivered several services on-site, including inpatient and outpatient mental health care (27 and 44 states, respectively), care for chronic diseases (31 states), long-term or nursing home care (35 states), and hospice care (35 states). For inpatient and outpatient medical, dental, and emergency care, most states delivered services using a combination of on-site and off-site care locations. Most states delivered selected diagnostic procedures and radiologic tests off-site. Telemedicine was most commonly used for psychiatry (28 states).