UTMB-Galveston taking stand to keep treating Texas inmates

Liz Farmer

The UT Medical Branch at Galveston’s contract to provide medical care to state inmates may continue with altered conditions or be terminated as the institution extends negotiations involving the financial situation over the next 30 days. 

The UT System Board of Regents voted to give UTMB President David Callender the power to negotiate a transition plan to limit or discontinue UTMB’s relationship with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in providing these services to inmates by Dec. 31, 2012.

Financial risk is the main issue threatening the relationship, according to a UTMB press release. The partnership began in 1994 to provide health care to about 80 percent of the state’s inmates, according to the institution’s website.

“Negotiations have reached an impasse,” Callender said in a press release Oct. 13.

Callender said a preliminary proposal “does not seek to eliminate jobs” and instead suggests the transfer of some UTMB personnel to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

“We will recommend that UTMB continue to manage Hospital Galveston and continue to accept TDCJ inpatients there,” Callender said in the press release. “We must, however, have an agreement where TDCJ will pay UTMB the cost of providing this care.”