Establishing Connections to Healthcare for Justice-Involved Populations

Prepared for The Commonwealth Fund

With many states expanding Medicaid eligibility, individuals leaving jail or prison are now often able to enroll in health coverage upon release. It is increasingly clear, however, that coverage alone is insufficient to address the often complex health and social needs of people who cycle between costly hospital and jail or prison stays.

To take full advantage of the opportunity created by Medicaid expansion, it is important to determine how to effectively deliver care to people leaving jail or prison, especially given their high rates of mental illness, substance use disorders and physical health problems, as well as the numerous barriers to securing housing, food and other social supports that affect health outcomes.

A new issue brief, published by The Commonwealth Fund, discusses first the impact of Medicaid expansion on coverage and then describes the latest developments in comprehensive primary care delivery models for people leaving jail or prison and the role that Medicaid can play in financing and supporting such models. The brief identifies promising, replicable approaches and critical success factors, including data exchange, prison “in reach,” strategies to address housing issues, use of peer-support specialists and specialized training for providers.

Click here to read the full report.



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