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Budget Summary FY2015

Outside Section 228
Data Current as of:  7/10/2014




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Commission to study aging and infirm inmate population

SECTION 228.   There shall be a special commission to study options available to address the aging and infirm inmate population and lower costs associated with providing healthcare, assisted living and other related issues related to aging and infirm inmates. The commission shall consist of 7 members including: the secretary of public safety and security or a designee, who shall serve as the chair of the commission; the commissioner of correction or a designee; the secretary of health and human services or a designee; the commissioner of public health or a designee; the director of Medicaid or a designee; the executive director of the Massachusetts sheriffs association or a designee; and the executive director of the Massachusetts district attorneys association or a designee.

The study shall include an examination of the options available to address an aging inmate population and lowering costs associated with providing healthcare, assisted living and other related services to an aging inmate population. In conducting the study, the commission shall: (i) assess the current health needs of that population; (ii) conduct a cost analysis of providing long-term care to terminally-ill inmates; (iii) make recommendations related to the feasibility of providing aging inmate focused medical care both within the penal system and outside of the penal system through services contracted with public and private facilities; (iv) analyze the feasibility of developing a compassionate release program for aging inmates, infirm inmates and inmates with a condition, disease or syndrome that is terminal, debilitiating or incapacitating including, but not limited to, inmates diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, dementia or other degenerative diseases; and (v) make recommendations on the development of a hospice care program to train inmates as hospice care volunteers. To the maximum extent possible, the commission shall take into consideration existing state properties and facilities that may be used to provide assisted living and other long-term health care services when making recommendations. The commission shall also determine opportunities to receive Medicaid funds, to the extent they are available, for medical services provided to aging inmates.

Not later than November 3, 2014, the department of correction shall make available to the commission the following information: (A) the number of inmates over the age of 45 and the number of inmates over the age of 55 for each 6-month period over the past 5 fiscal years for which complete data is available; (B) the number of department of correction inmates receiving a skilled nursing facility level of care by month for the last 3 fiscal years for which complete data is available; (C) the number of inmates who have passed away from chronic or long-term medical issues while in custody for each of the last 5 fiscal years for which complete data is available; (D) the number of inmates who have spent a minimum of 15 consecutive days in the infirmary within each 6-month period during the last 3 fiscal years for which complete data is available; provided, that this data shall organize the information provided in 5-day increments beginning with the number of prisoners who meet the criteria who spent not fewer than 15 and not more than 19 consecutive days in the infirmary; (e) the cost of creating an assisted living facility to care for inmates of correctional institutions within a prison; and (f) the cost of contracting with a private facility for assisted living or long-term skilled nursing care to care for inmates of correctional institutions.

Not later than November 3, 2014, the department of public health shall make available to the commission the following information: (1) the number of bed days, by month, provided to department of correction inmates and the number of bed days, by month, provided to house of correction inmates for the last 3 fiscal years for which complete data is available; (2) the cost of increasing the number of wings at public health hospitals to provide inpatient medical care to inmates of correctional facilities; (3) the cost of creating a wing at a public health hospital facility to provide hospice care to inmates of correctional institutions; (4) the cost of creating a wing at a public health hospital facility to provide skilled nursing facility care to inmates of correctional institutions.

The department of public health and the department of correction shall provide any additional information requested by the commission within 15 days of the request.

The commission shall file a report of its study and any drafts of recommended legislation with the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives not later than March 1, 2015, which shall be forwarded to the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on public safety and homeland security, the chairs of the joint committee on health care financing and the house and senate chairs of the committees on ways and means.