In 2017, the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) will begin connecting inmates to providers over video, for urgent care needs.
Traditionally, inmates would be transported with security personnel to an emergency department, whether or not the need was emergent. According to the SCDC, a transport can cost on average $491. In a year, inmates might be transported over 28,000 times. The partnership with the Medical University of South Carolina will allow inmates to receive remote care for non-emergent needs, during odd hours, in an effort to reduce inmate transports.
The pilot project will begin at five state prison facilities, and follows a successful tele-psychiatry partnership, allowing some inmates to receive remote psychiatric care. With decreased inmate transports, the partnership is expected to cut costs, reduce public safety risks, and expand care for inmates.