By Jennifer Chaussee, Capital Weekly — Hundreds of millions of dollars are involved in a new state contract for prison health care, but there’s no telling now exactly much money California is spending under the agreement, which takes effect in just weeks. Even lawmakers are kept in the dark.
The contract and its fiscal details are secret because of an exemption related to health care information within the state Public Records Act, said Liz Kanter, a spokesperson for the California Prison Health Care Services, the government body that awarded the contract to Health Net Federal Services, an outside HMO and subsidiary of Health Net.
Some details will be released after a year has passed, she noted.
But questions about the contract couldn’t come at a worse time: Prison health care costs are skyrocketing.
The non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office found a “dramatic increase in spending on adult prison health care: from $1.2 million in 2005-2006 to $2.5 billion in 2008-2009,” according to the March, 2010 report on adult inmate health care costs.[continue reading…]