Presentation on DPSCS proactive health & mental health delivered at ACA Winter Conference 2013

Public Health

Topics At A Glance

Since FY08, DPSCS has taken a proactive, surveillance-backed managed health care approach to caring for Maryland’s inmate population. Inmate health can mirror the general public, but generally with higher instances of chronic and infectious health care issues because of drug use or other poor lifestyle choices, making it a public health issue for the state.

Proactive Health CareInfectious diesease admissions image

Through surveillance, constant education and outreach for both staff and inmates to increase awareness, the Department continues to be aggressive in diagnosing and treating HIV and other infectious diseases. Prevention and control is key to reducing both medical costs and affecting public health by stopping their spread. During FY12:

  • DPSCS increased proactive HIV testing by 308% since FY07. Only 3,774 inmates were tested for HIV in FY07 (both voluntarily and secondary to symptoms) compared to 15,385 in FY12.
  • Indicative of successful treatment through anti-viral medications, 82% of incarcerated inmates being treated for HIV are currently at undetectable virus levels as defined by the CDC (viral loads less than 75). That number is up from 79% in FY09.
  • With just 133 during FY12, DPSCS’ early intervention methods for HIV and other infectious diseases have reduced hospital admissions by 59% since a high in FY08.

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Continuity of Services

In March of FY12 DPSCS began daily electronic sharing of Baltimore City arrest records with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH).

  • An average of 49% of all records sent since that time were matched with Public Mental Health Authorization records, allowing social and mental health workers in the jail to gain a better picture of a detainee’s background then what was previously self-reported.
  • Information received from DHMH also provides DPSCS with the name of the community service provider who rendered care prior to arrest and incarceration, which is then utilized during the reentry process for connecting the offender to continued care upon release.

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Reduced Emergency Room VisitsEmergency room visits image

These proactive health care approaches have helped reduce offender emergency room (ER) visits. During FY12:

  • Emergency room visits reduced by 37% since FY07.
  • DPSCS was well below the national correctional average of 100 visits per 1,000 inmates with just 49 per 1,000 in Maryland.
  • Due to reduced assaults and better training of staff to perform in-house sutures and x-rays when able, we have also reduced trauma related emergency room visits by 51% since a high in FY08.

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Quick Facts

Prevention and Control = Proactive Health Care

HIV Detection/Counseling

  • Increased awareness and treatment leads to a decrease in spread and disappearance of related symptoms
  • 308% increase in number of inmates tested voluntary and secondary to symptoms for HIV from FY07 to FY12
  • 82% of those being treated for HIV in FY12 were at undetectable virus levels – up from 79% in FY09


Infectious Disease Admissions

  • 59% drop in infectious disease related admissions to outside hospitals FY08 vs. FY12


Continuity of Services

  • Began March FY12 sharing intake records in Baltimore City with Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH)
  • 49% of records matched DHMH files
  • Institutions now receive accurate social/mental health background


Reducing ER Visits

  • Proactive health care efforts have contributed to 37% drop in emergency room visits FY07 vs. FY12
  • 51% drop in trauma related ER visits FY08 vs. FY12