A lot has been going on in correctional health care these last 12 months and we have selected our top picks for review moving into the New Year. Regular panelists Catherine Knox and Sue Smith provide insight into these past events.
Affordable Care Act
Numero Uno on our list has to be the Affordable Care Act. With passage in 2010 and the 2012 reelection of President Obama, we are moving into implementation of this sweeping legislation. Corrections experts are scrambling to make sense of the legislation as it affects our field. What is going to start changing in correctional healthcare when the ACA is implemented? Policy experts suggest that changes in Medicaid eligibility will allow more health care funds for incarcerated individuals. There are definitely going to be many challenges to implementing enrollment and correctional leaders will need to view funding in a very different way. Experts suggest that a third of released inmates may be eligible for Medicaid support and a quarter eligible for credits toward health care exchanges. There will be a greater need to integrate correctional healthcare into the health continuum. Assuming a large percentage of the underserved and marginalized citizenry begin receiving ongoing healthcare, experts expect a reduction in healthcare needs while incarcerated. Improved healthcare services outside the correctional setting could mean reduced needs while behind bars.
Our next top news story has to do with GLBTI management in correctional settings. GLBTI stands for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex – which explains why it is simpler to use the initials! Facilities are dealing with issues of housing assignment, victimization, and medical care. Courts ruled this year that a Massachusetts inmate must receive state-funded sex reassignment surgery for Gender Identity Disorder – GID. The judge stated this was the only appropriate response to the inmate’s 8th amendment right to adequate health care. This ruling is currently in appeal. The inmate’s follow-up claim for electrolysis hair removal was dismissed.
Our next top story is about Miss America 2011, Laura Kaeppeler, from Wisconsin. She has been reigning this year and has selected an interesting platform pertinent to our specialty. She revealed that she graduated from high school while her father, Jeff, was serving an 18 month jail sentence for mail fraud. There are 2.7 million children with a parent in prison in the US.
Essentials of Correctional Nursing
Our final story involves all of us on the panel. We end with the story of the publication this year of the Essentials of Correctional Nursing by Springer Publishers. Catherine and I co-edited the book and Sue wrote two chapters. We were joined by 7 other chapter authors from around the country. Well, for those of us who spent the long hours writing and editing the material, this is definitely big news, but how about our listeners?
What are your top correctional healthcare news stories of 2012? Share your thoughts in the comments section of this post.