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Dec. 12, 2011
Seven of the state's eight correctional facilities specialize in one or more health care services. Inmates with special health needs are transferred to the appropriate facility when possible. The prisons together have 103 beds for inmate health care.
Lansing specializes in cardiac and orthopedic services. It's also where all male inmates with kidney failure are housed.
Specialties at Kansas' other facilities
• El Dorado Correctional Facility
El Dorado is the state's reception facility. Every new inmate is taken there for a full medical screening, including physical, dental and mental assessments. Corrections officials use the screening to give inmates a health classification and assign them to the appropriate facility. Some also receive educational or work assignments based upon the screening.
The El Dorado prison clinic specializes in treating inmates with cancer. Chemotherapy also can be provided at Lansing, but most of the state's 30 to 40 inmate cancer patients are at El Dorado.
Like dialysis, providing chemotherapy in the prison means major cost savings, said Viola Riggin, director of health care services for the prison system.
After Lansing, El Dorado has the largest infirmary with 25 beds and a hospice center.
• Ellsworth Correctional Facility
Ellsworth specializes in patients prone to recidivism. Riggin said the patients there tend to have acute, short-term clinical needs best served by staff already familiar with them.
"They're not usually severe," she said. "A lot of drug abusers who get back out on the streets and can't stay off drugs. That has a different feel to it. Like an ER who has a patient you're used to, but then they've gone off the radar for months and then they come back in."
• Hutchinson Correctional Facility
The facility in Hutchinson caters to elderly inmates and others with stable chronic illnesses who require fewer clinic visits and do not necessarily need daily living assistance services.
• Larned Correctional Facility
Larned has the state's primary inpatient mental health clinic. Inmates diagnosed with mental illness during the screening at El Dorado are given a hearing to determine whether they will be housed at Larned. Once there, the inmates receive treatment in coordination with nearby Larned State Hospital.
Currently 115 inmates are housed at Larned State Hospital for acute and long-term care. Another 150 are at the inpatient mental health facility within the prison. (Those housed at the sexual predator unit at the state hospital are under the supervision of the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services and do not access inmate health care services.)
• Norton Correctional Facility
Norton specializes in infectious diseases such as AIDS. However, inmates at other facilities can receive treatment from the specialist there via telemedicine, Riggin said.
"All eight of our facilities are tied by an electronic health record," she said. “The specialty physician can get on the phone and consult with the other doctors.”
• Topeka Correctional Facility
The health clinic at the state's only women's prison specializes in female health care services, such as obstetrics and gynecology, and provides some dialysis, chemotherapy and mental health services.
"We have at any given time around 12 pregnant females out of 600," Riggin said. She said annual deliveries have ranged from six to 56, and the babies are born at Stormont-Vail or St. Francis hospitals in Topeka.