A better diet helped reduce inmate healthcare costs by $40M in Ohio

October 18, 2015

The Ohio Department of Corrections cut healthcare costs by millions during the past decade partly due to savings from changing inmate diets to a heart-healthy menu. The changes took place, in 2006, after the department settled a lawsuit for inadequate medical care. DRC healthcare operations manager Stuart Hudson said the diet has proven beneficial. "Over time we have seen tangible things like decrease in mortality rate, diseases of the heart." In recent years, DRC's healthcare costs have declined by nearly $40 million or more than 17%. While Hudson can't give all the credit to what inmates are eating, he said it's a contributory factor. Medicaid expansion, Hudson said, has helped reduce healthcare costs. For instance, inmate hospital stays are picked up by Medicaid now. Hudson added the department has been able to reduce the number of special diets for heart and blood pressure problems since the menu changes.