Cmc East Facility Medical Dental0011

An offender receives dental services at California Men’s Colony. CDCR file photo.

By Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR editor
Office of Public and Employee Communication

A recent report highlights the need for medical services for those who are integrating back into society after incarceration. According to the report’s findings, access to medical services directly impacts public safety.

“Findings from this report of individuals released from CDCR between 2012 and 2016 show that the Affordable Care Act had a significant impact on the formerly incarcerated population with these individuals experiencing positive gains in health care access and service utilization immediately following the expansion of Medi-Cal,” said Dawnté R. Early, PhD, MS, CDCR Research Scientist III with the Council on Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health (CCJBH). “For California, Medi-Cal’s use to support access to healthcare provides one of the most powerful tools in preventing incarceration and recidivism and therefore is a significant instrument in improving public safety.”

While incarcerated, an offender is provided medical, vision, dental and mental health care. After release, Dr. Early said there should be a smoother transition between providers and easier access to care.

“In particular, this paper reinforces the need to address gaps that exist between eligibility, enrollment, and service access. Having a better system that allows for immediate use of health benefits when exiting CDCR as well as a warm hand-off between CDCR’s health care system and a provider selected by the individual prior to leaving CDCR would facilitate lowering the percentage of individuals accessing the emergency departments for their first service and ultimately increase the chances that individuals do not return to incarceration,” Dr. Early said.

Read the report summary: CDCR DHCS Medi-Cal Utilization Research Report CCJBH summary
Read the full report: CCJBH Offender Medi-Cal Utilization Study Research Report

CCJBH website:  https://sites.cdcr.ca.gov/ccjbh/