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November 10, 2004

Health Care Delivery in the Texas Prison System—Reply

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Robert M. Golub, MD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2004;292(18):2212-2213. doi:10.1001/jama.292.18.2212-c

In Reply: We agree with Drs Sinclair and Porter-Williamson that hospice programs are an important and integral part of the correctional health care delivery system. A comprehensive correctional hospice program is available within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) health care system for offenders with terminal illnesses. Hospice services, which are available at 3 prison units, focus on palliative care and support provided by an interdisciplinary team consisting of a physician, registered nurse, social worker, and chaplain. Additionally, prisoner volunteers are an important component of hospice care, providing crucial support and assistance to terminally ill fellow inmates. The TDCJ hospice program is based on the same standards of care as those applied in the noncorrectional setting, although some modifications are required because of security issues. All offenders who enter the hospice program are also referred for early release consideration.