SIGN THE PETITION to Support Medicaid Coverage for Those Returning from Jails and Prisons

NYAPRS Note: As mentioned in an earlier eNews post, NYAPRS, MHANYS, and the Legal Action Center (LAC) are advocating vigorously to ensure that those who are released from jails and prisons across New York State have the Medicaid coverage necessary to effectively transition back into the community. If you agree, see below for more details as well as the link to sign the petition! Your voice matters!

New Yorkers Need a Continuum of Health Care for People Coming Home from Prisons and Jails!

Disruptions in medical care upon reentry, especially for those with behavioral health disorders and other chronic conditions, contributes to poor and costly health outcomes, including increased episodes of mental illness and drug use, as well as an increased risk of re-incarceration. There is also a 12-fold increase in the risk of death in the first two weeks after release. To counteract some of these negative consequences, the undersigned call on the Legislature to include language in the 2016-17 Budget to amend the Social Service Law by:

  • Modifying New York State’s prohibition on the use of Medicaid funds for those who are incarcerated, and
  • Calling on the Department of Health to seek permission from the Federal government to use Medicaid funds to link individuals being released from incarceration to care in the community.

The Proposed Waiver (or Authorization) would:

  • Offer Limited Coverage Pre-Releaseby allowingthe State to use Medicaid to cover health services for at-risk individuals as they transition back into the community during their last 30 days of incarceration;
  • Support High Need Individuals.Services would be available to individuals (a) with a history of addiction; (b) with mental illness; or (c) who would otherwise be eligible to participate in programs that target those with chronic illnesses; and
  • Generate Significant Savings for New York Stateby helping to avoid relapse and hospitalization of justice-involved individuals. Furthermore, because the vast majority of those who are incarcerated are eligible for the increased federal Medicaid match, which will eventually rise to 90%, the upfront cost to the State would be very small. As a result, the State would no longer have to cover all the costs of care, thereby generating huge financial savings for the State.

The proposal would also directly support New York State’s ongoing efforts to provide high-quality, comprehensive care to New Yorkers who need it the most.

  • Improved Health Outcomes.The vast majority of incarcerated individuals suffer from serious mental health and substance use disorders and/or other chronic conditions. Linking them to treatment and intensive care coordination prior to release would result in huge improvements in health.
  • Improved Public Safety and Reduced Recidivism.Connecting individuals to Medicaid prior to release helps create a smooth transition back to the community and improves the health of incarcerated individuals, thereby reducing rates of relapse and recidivism.

Find the Petition here: