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  November 10, 2003

Health Center Offers Training
To Prison Health Care Providers

The Health Center's relationship as health care provider to the state's prison population is important to Theresa Lantz, the new commissioner for the Department of Correction.

"It's important that I reinforce and support the relationship with Correctional Managed Health Care," Lantz told more than 200 Correctional Managed Health Care employees at the department's fall educational conference Nov. 4. "We have a lot of work ahead of us. I can't do it without you."

The conference was part of ongoing training the Health Center provides to the nearly 700 Correctional Managed Health Care employees. The conference, "Collaboration Among the Disciplines," brought together the mental health, dental, and health care providers involved in the program.

"We all are working with the same inmates. We have to be talking to each other about the care we are providing," says David Budlong, executive director of Correctional Managed Health Care. "The landscape of health care is changing generally, and we are working in a particularly complex environment. Collaboration is absolutely essential to our goal of providing quality, cost-effective health care to inmates."

The Health Center established the Correctional Managed Health Care program with the state Department of Correction in 1997 to provide care to the state's prison population of about 18,000 offenders. The Health Center directs the provision of care at all 21 DOC institutions and halfway houses, and staffs six prison-based medical and mental health infirmaries. Acute care is provided at John Dempsey Hospital in a secure unit.

The program is unusual because Connecticut is one of a few states in the country that operate an integrated jail and prison system, and the only one to provide comprehensive health care to the entire system through the state's public medical and dental schools.

"The relationship is important to both the state and the Health Center," says Budlong. "The inmates receive improved health care, and it enables us to support our academic mission by providing opportunities for research, teaching, and training."