Latest California Healthline Stories
A survey of 49 states reveals that an estimated 144,000 inmates with hepatitis C, a curable but potentially fatal disease, can’t get the expensive drugs they need to cure it. California lawmakers allocated $106 million in the state’s new budget to treat more infected prisoners.
The use of psychiatric drugs among inmates in California’s county jails has soared 25 percent in five years. California Healthline reporter Anna Gorman discussed this phenomenon in a recent radio interview.
A combination of factors has led to an “astronomical” increase in mentally ill inmates, followed by increased efforts to identify those who need prescriptions. Some say the meds are underprescribed; others, that they are given inappropriately, without the benefit of comprehensive treatment.
The effort, overseen by the county’s health services department, aims to improve care for a population with high rates of chronic disease, mental illness and drug addiction.
New data show 4,980 inmate deaths in 2014, the most since counting began in 2001.
A three-month drug regimen to treat latent TB in a California jail system was just as effective as the standard nine-month approach — and the patients were far more likely to finish treatment.
The health law’s Medicaid expansion and its requirement that employer medical plans cover dependents up to age 26 had a significant impact on coverage for this population. The portion of young adult ex-inmates without insurance fell from 40 percent to 32 percent.
As a Democratic senator and governor, Tim Kaine has backed the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid expansion and better access to mental health treatment for people in crisis.