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Public Health Raises Concerns over HIV Stigma in Bill to Protect Prison Workers

SB 367 will allow an easier trade of information between physicians when a corrections officer comes into contact with an inmate’s bodily fluid to know if the prisoner carried Hepatitis C or HIV. But a discussion about the risks of HIV and Hep C painted the picture that the prison workers must be quarantined even though their real chance of transmission is low.

The Senate unanimously passed a bill Wednesday designed to protect corrections officers from exposure to HIV or Hepatitis C, but discussion around the bill may have sensationalized the risk of acquiring these diseases.

Pendleton Senator Wants HIV Information Exchange for Prison Guards at Risk

SB 367 allows prison doctors to disclose information about an inmate’s HIV or Hepatitis status if a correctional officer has been exposed to bodily fluids. A separate bill requires health insurers to continue coverage for children booked in juvenile hall.

Sen. Bill Hansell, R-Pendleton, has introduced two bills that are designed to improve public policy at the intersection of healthcare and corrections, allowing the physicians of prison guards to get information about HIV exposure and closing a loophole to require health insurers to cover medical costs for juveniles held on bail.

HIV Drugs Skyrocket for Consumers on Some Individual Health Plans

Advocates are proposing legislation that would limit out-of-pocket costs to $150 a month after some patients see insurance companies shift the cost for pricey HIV medications by as much as $1,200 a month, after paying just $40 a month under the old high-risk pool.

Last year, if a person with HIV was insured through the high-risk Oregon Medical Insurance Pool, he or she would chip in $40 a month to help cover the cost of medications.

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