On June 26, 2019, the Legal Action Center and the Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice co-hosted a webinar on New York’s application to waive the federal Medicaid “Inmate” Exclusion provision. New York State’s Department of Health is in the process of submitting an amendment to its 1115 Medicaid Waiver in an effort to use federal Medicaid dollars to finance certain health care services for incarcerated people 30 days before release. If approved, New York would be the first state in the country to use Medicaid “inside the walls,” helping to improve both health and criminal justice outcomes.
Connecting individuals in reentry to coordinated care is crucial to addressing the current crises of mass incarceration and overdose. The lack of access to and coverage of treatment for individuals leaving jails and prisons only fuels the prevalence of untreated substance use and mental disorders, exacerbates the spread of communicable diseases, and perpetuates recidivism. As it stands now, many people reenter their communities not knowing where to go or what providers to see for their health care. By turning on Medicaid coverage 30 days prior to their exiting, individuals can begin and continue their unique medications and treatment plans and move seamlessly into community health care upon release. This helps to bolster positive health outcomes for individuals and support overall stability and well-being for them and their families.
You can watch the full recorded webinar here where Tracie Gardner, LAC’s Vice President of Policy Advocacy, Gabrielle de la Gueronniere, LAC’s Director of Policy, and Keith Brown, the Director of Health and Harm Reduction at the Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice discussed this issue and how health and justice advocates nationwide can collectively weigh in to “turn on care” in their states. You can also visit LAC’s “No Health = No Justice” website here to learn more about the waiver process, the link between correctional health and community health, and view a timeline of LAC’s efforts to “turn on care”.