Correctional Managed Care Contract Update
Over the past two months, UTMB and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice have been engaged in extensive negotiations regarding the Correctional Managed Care contract.
Despite efforts to date, UTMB has concluded that negotiations have reached an impasse. UTMB’s first priority must be the long-term financial health of the institution as a whole and advancing its vital missions. With this in mind, we cannot accept any contractual commitment that creates financial risk for the institution. We recognize that resources to provide care are limited. However, we must be reimbursed at a rate that will cover the cost of providing care to TDCJ patients.
If the issue of financial risk cannot be resolved, UTMB has the full support of the University of Texas System to recommend that we begin transitioning to TDCJ a number of services we currently provide. Should such a transition be necessary, UTMB pledges to work with TDCJ throughout the process to develop a sustainable model for providing quality correctional care. Our issues are with the financial arrangements of the contractual agreement; our commitment to patient care remains unchanged.
A preliminary proposal for this transition of services does not seek to eliminate jobs. Rather, it will recommend transferring some UTMB CMC personnel to TDCJ. Texas’ offender population is aging and includes a high number of patients with costly chronic conditions, such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. A significant health care workforce will continue to be necessary in order to address such substantial patient care needs, regardless of which agency it reports to.
We will recommend that UTMB continue to manage Hospital Galveston and continue to accept TDCJ inpatients there. In this scenario, specialty services and staffing would not change and would continue to be managed by UTMB. Under this proposal, our academic programs would continue to benefit from their access to this important patient population. It will also ensure that offenders have continued access to outstanding specialty care. We must, however, have an agreement where TDCJ will pay UTMB the cost of providing this care.
We realize that, although we have addressed a number of potential concerns in this message, a number of employees will still have questions about the impact of any proposed change on their jobs and work environment. With this in mind, Dr. Owen Murray, Vice President, Correctional Managed Care, and other UTMB-CMC leadership will visit off-site facilities and Hospital Galveston over the course of the next two weeks to hold open employee forums and address those questions directly with employees.
In the meantime, we will continue to work with TDCJ and the state to try to find a sustainable solution to the financial challenges we all face in providing an appropriate level of correctional care.
Dr. David L. Callender