Integrating Correctional And Community Health Care For Formerly Incarcerated People Who Are Eligible For Medicaid
Author: Kavita Patel, Amy Boutwell, Bradley W. Brockmann, Josiah D. Rich
Under the Affordable Care Act, up to thirteen million adults have the opportunity to obtain health insurance through an expansion of the Medicaid program. A great deal of effort is currently being devoted to eligibility verification, outreach, and enrollment. We look beyond these important first-phase challenges to consider what people who are transitioning back to the community after incarceration need to receive effective care. It will be possible to deliver cost-effective, high-quality care to this population only if assistance is coordinated between the correctional facility and the community, and across diverse treatment and support organizations in the community. This article discusses several examples of successful coordination of care for formerly incarcerated people, such as Project Bridge and the Community Partnerships and Supportive Services for HIV-Infected People Leaving Jail (COMPASS) program in Rhode Island and the Transitions Clinic program that operates in ten US cities. To promote broader adoption of successful models, we offer four policy recommendations for overcoming barriers to integrating individuals into sustained, community-based care following their release from incarceration.