Gov. Bill Haslam will propose an additional $2 million a year for “updated Hepatitis C treatment standards” in his annual budget, half of what the Department of Correction requested to combat an epidemic raging behind prison walls.
During budget hearings in late 2016, Department of Correction Commissioner Tony Parker asked for an extra $4 million annually to combat Hepatitis C, an infection of the liver that can prove fatal. The request represented a substantial increase in funding — the department spent $1.6 million on treatment in 2016 — but would do little to stamp out the disease.
“This issue with hep C is not just a Tennessee issue. It’s a nationwide issue. Based on our resources that we have available, we’re committed to doing everything we can,” Parker told The Tennessean in November.