New initiative could reduce recidivism, improve public health and safety

Local

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The State Department of Health is in the process of redesigning its Medicaid program for county jail and state prison inmates.

The state hopes to provide Medicaid services to inmates 30 days before their release date to help them better assimilate into society and provide continuous healthcare coverage.

“For incarcerated individuals leaving prisons and jails, it is critical that they receive the healthcare services they need for a seamless transition to life outside the correctional facility,” said Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. “Ensuring continuous healthcare coverage for criminal justice involved populations with serious health conditions will make our communities both healthier and safer.”

Albany County instituted a similar program last year and says it’s been a success. They’ve been submitting the paperwork for Medicaid, Obamacare, food stamps and other services 45 days before an inmate’s release date. Sheriff Craig Apple says the paperwork takes too long to process, and if newly released peoples are without a safety for more than a month, they often end up back in jail.

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