The state corrections agency reversed course on a contract that provides medical care for inmates in state prisons. Legislators had complained when the state Department of Corrections chose a Texas firm to provide “telemedicine services” to replace LSU….Corrections Undersecretary Thomas Bickham said Monday that talks with LSU have resulted in LSU’s School of Medicine retaining the contract to provide services for prisoners in south Louisiana penal facilities. The Texas firm — U.S. Telehealth — will have the telemedicine pact for state prisons in north Louisiana, he said. Bickham said final negotiations are taking place on three, one-year, renewable contracts. He estimated total costs of contracts with LSU and U.S. Telehealth would run about $1.8 million annually.
La. lawmakers question hiring Texas firm for prisoner care
Source: Melinda Deslatte, Associated Press, June 23, 2013
Louisiana lawmakers are questioning a decison by the state Department of Corrections to hire a Texas company for telemedicine services for prisoners, rather than continuing to use the LSU health system. The change is set to take effect with the new fiscal year that begins July 1. It’s part of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s push to privatize the university-run hospitals and clinics, which includes reworking the way prisoners receive health services that have been provided through LSU…. Louisiana lawmakers reviewing LSU hospital privatization deals said they were displeased that the state would contract with an out-of-state company rather than use its own university system for the services…
…According to information provided by the department, LSU proposed doing the work for $2.9 million a year, compared to $1.7 million for US Telehealth, which was the cheapest of the five bids submitted to the state. Three companies offered bids lower than LSU did, and the corrections department said the university system’s proposal didn’t include services for north and central Louisiana prisons….As part of the Jindal administration’s hospital privatization efforts, the corrections department will receive $50 million in the 2013-14 fiscal year to cover the costs of prisoner care, which had previously been paid through the LSU health care system….
..Murray said the corrections department should have returned to LSU to determine if the university system could match the price offered by US Telehealth. He said the loss of the contract will shrink funding for the medical schools, which he said likely will either ask lawmakers for more money to fill the gap or seek tuition increases on its students….