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6th Circuit: OK for Tennessee to ration hepatitis C treatment to prisoners

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — In a split decision, a panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld Tennessee’s rationing of life-saving hepatitis C drugs to prisoners as constitutional.

 

The 2-1 Monday decision found that Tennessee officials didn't act with deliberate indifference to prisoners’ medical needs.

 

The opinion also stated it was reasonable to prioritize the sickest patients for treatment, given the Tennessee Department of Correction’s limited resources.

 

In a dissent, U.S. Circuit Judge Ronald Lee Gilman wrote that officials may not refuse to treat a patient with a serious medical need “merely to avoid paying the bill.”

 

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