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How Health Care Reform Can Transform the Health Of Criminal Justice-Involved Individuals

NCJ Number
Health Affairs Volume: 33 Issue: 3 Dated: March 2014 Pages: 462-467
Josiah D. Rich; Redonna Chandler; Brie A. Williams; Dora Dumont; Emily A. Wang; Faye S. Taxman; Scott A. Allen; Jennifer G. Clarke; Robert B. Greifinger; Christopher Wildeman; Fred C. Osher; Steven Rosenberg; Craig Haney; Marc Mauer; Bruce Western
Date Published
March 2014
6 pages
This article discusses the different ways that health care reform can improve the health and lives of criminal justice-involved individuals.
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a larger portion of individuals involved with the criminal justice system could become eligible for health care coverage. This article discusses the different ways that reforms implemented under the ACA can improve the health and lives of criminal justice-involved individuals. Prior to passage of the ACA, States were allowed to suspend Medicaid coverage for incarcerated persons, leading to a disruption in health care coverage and treatment for chronic illnesses and mental health and substance use disorders. Under the ACA, States can choose to expand their eligibility criteria for Medicaid and offer coverage to adults involved with the criminal justice system. By doing so, correctional providers could improve health care within their facilities. This article presents a set of recommendations for improving correctional health care. These recommendations include reducing the barriers currently separating correctional and community providers; improving systems of external oversight and quality management; increasing the use of a risk-needs-responsivity (RNR) model to improve criminal justice outcomes and ensure proper care for incarcerated persons; and institute accreditation of correctional health care services and facilities to provide a more direct means of enforcing quality measurement and oversight. Actions also need to be taken by community care providers to ensure that recently released inmates continue to have access to health care coverage. 33 notes