National Survey of Prison Health Care: Selected Findings
Date:  08-11-2016

Not all states test for infectious diseases when people are admitted to prisons
From the report National Survey of Prison Health Care: Selected Findings:

At the end of 2013, there were more than 1.5 million prisoners in the United States (1). The number of prisoners aged 55 and over has increased in the last three decades. In 1981, there were 8,853 prisoners aged 55 and over; this number increased to 144,500 in 2013 (1,2). The trend is expected to continue as the number of prisoners in this age group is expected to reach an estimated 400,000 by 2030 (2,3). Prison inmates have higher rates of mental illness, chronic medical conditions, and infectious diseases compared with the general population

National- and state-level data concerning the provision and delivery of health care services in U.S. prisons are lacking. In particular, data regarding the provision of medical and mental health services by type of services delivered and the mechanisms used to deliver the services to prisoners are generally not available. To help remedy this research gap, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) partnered to develop and conduct the National Survey of Prison Health Care (NSPHC). With BJS’ expertise in correctional systems and populations and NCHS’ expertise in health and health care, the agencies brought together two perspectives essential to the success of the project. The BJS and NCHS project managers provided input, guidance, and oversight on all aspects of the data collection effort. NCHS acted as the data collection agent, conducted all semi-structured interviews, processed the data, and created the data files for analysis.

This report focuses on NSPHC’s goal to gather data on the provision and delivery of health care in U.S. prison systems. Specifically, the report highlights findings related to admissions testing for selected infectious diseases, mental health conditions, and cardiovascular risk factors conducted upon entry into the system; the location of health care service delivery (including general medical and mental health care, as well as specialty services); and the use of telemedicine for certain health services. Read the full report here.