Watchdog report faults prison system on medical spending

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department’s watchdog says the federal prison system is spending too much on medical care by overly relying on outside doctors and hospitals.

An inspector general report says the Bureau of Prisons spent at least $100 million more than the Medicare rate on outside medical care in the 2014 budget year. All of the facilities that were reviewed for the report paid a premium above Medicare rates.

The report says that unlike other federal agencies, the Bureau of Prisons negotiates its own rates for medical services with providers.

The inspector general recommends that the prison system explore ways for cutting its medical spending.