UTMB To Continue Treating Texas Inmates

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A $45 million deal has been reached to extend an agreement with the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston for treating state prisoners.

UTMB and prison officials announced the agreement Thursday amid concerns over rising health care costs.
The Austin American-Statesman reports the agreement means negotiations will begin to possibly transition UTMB out of its nearly 18-year role as the primary care provider for the prison system.

Senate Criminal Justice Committee Chairman John Whitmire of Houston says the $45 million in additional funding will be advanced from the state's next budget, as promised by legislative budget leaders.

Whitmire plans to hold hearings next month look at possible alternatives for prison medical care, including UTMB, regional hospitals and private companies.