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New Report Released on the Risks of Privatizing the DOC

Governor Corbett’s proposal to privatize our DOC health care services is bad for nurses, bad for the public and falls far short of projected cost savings, reads a new report just released by SEIU Healthcare PA and the CLEAR Coalition.

“The history of contracted prison health care both in Pennsylvania and across the country is a history of unrealized cost savings, lawsuits and diminished care. Expanding the scope of privatized healthcare will likely result in more of the same for the DOC,” states the report, “Department of Corrections Healthcare: Public Health and Safety in the Commonwealth’s Prisons.”

With examples from across the country of unsuccessful attempts at privatizing prison health care services, this report undermines Governor Corbett’s claims that outsourcing with maintain security, safety and reduce state dollars spent. Some highlights include:

Inaccurate Savings Projections:
“Cost overruns combined with hidden and indirect costs, such as contract monitoring and administration, can make privatization more expensive than in-house services for governments.”

Compromised Nurse Security:
“Agency nurses do not have the same training and experience in security protocols that DOC nurses have… and do not view themselves as part of the security team and place an extra strain on DOC staff.”

Reduced Public Safety:
“Agency nurses do not have the same level of commitment to educating inmates about managing their conditions and diseases for their eventual return to the community. Health education is an involved process that takes time and requires establishing a rapport with the patient. A more transient workforce will be less effective at education than a stable, dedicated workforce.”

Download a copy of the report.

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