The Newsroom • Published Monday, Jul. 24, 2006, 2:23 PM
Texas prison health care system on critical list
Austin American-Statesman (Internet / Print) 07/24/06 Bricks falling off the eight-story hospital's crumbling facade have forced officials to fence it off, to keep passers-by out of harm's way. Less than half of the aged X-ray machines are working, and derelict machines must be continually cannibalized to keep others in service. Shabby dental and dialysis equipment that no private doctor would touch remains in use. Many clinics now operate with skeleton staffs, if they're open at all. Simply put, Texas' prison health care system is facing a growing crisis — so serious that top officials, for the first time, are warning that unless more money is allocated, the quality of Texas' prison health care could once again become unconstitutional, as it was three decades ago. "We're toed up to the line. No doubt about it," said Dr. Ben Raimer, vice president for correctional health care for the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. "Right now, the system is constitutional . . . but we're on a thin line," Raimer said.