The Department of Corrections has contracts with a Beverly Hills dermatologist and a La Jolla orthopedist.
It spent four-and-a-half million dollars for hearing aids and 108-thousand dollars for 60 prosthetic eyes — though that´s a tiny fraction of the roughly billion dollars the largest state prison system will spend on health care this fiscal year.
A recent audit found the department does a poor job in contracting for expensive outside medical care.
Most of the state´s spiraling prison costs are driven by inmate lawsuits over poor medical care, or because medical providers are reluctant to treat inmates.
The department´s new director tells legislators she faces few challenges greater than providing adequate yet cost-efficient medical care to 161-thousand inmates.