206588 Organizing Stakeholders at the Community-Level to Improve Public Health Services for the Reentry Population

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 9:00 AM

Eugene Williams III , Regional Congregations and Neighborhood Organizations, Los Angeles, CA
Faith-based organizations play a critical role in reintegrating residents returning from prison, however, little is documented about FBO interventions that could inform policy, and there is little coordination among FBOs and with other reentry stakeholders. Regional Congregations and Neighborhood Organizations Training Center (RCNO), a national faith-based intermediary, is leading a 300-congregation effort to create public policies related to reentry to improve public health and public safety. RCNO created public health reentry task forces including FBOs, public health officials, healthcare providers, drug court judges, and other public safety officials in 5 California counties. Here we discuss the process of organizing these task forces and the principal policy recommendations that emerged: (1) establish links between prison medical staff and the receiving county to introduce re-entrants to community-based integrated health services prior to release, (2) schedule appointments for medical follow-up prior to being released from prison or jail (3) suspend rather than terminate prisoners' eligibility for Medi-Cal and/or other categorical funding, (4) mandate the electronic transfer of medical records for positive reportable communicable diseases and dual-diagnosed cases to the county public health department, (5) make healthcare follow-up for reportable communicable diseases a mandatory condition for parole and probation. We also discuss how these recommendations have influenced local and state policy, including the passage of resolutions by the City of Los Angeles to increase state funding for reentry services and the use of the recommendations by the California Health Officers Association to inform the medical receiver overseeing the restructuring of California prison healthcare.

Learning Objectives:
1. Demonstrate the critical role that FBOs can play in creating public policies to expand public health services to residents returning from prison. 2. Identify processes that can be utilized to engage reentry stakeholders to help address locally the health care needs of the reentry population and their families. 3. Discuss potential policy recommendations to address the public health issues related to reentry

Keywords: Community Collaboration, Parolees

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As the Executive Director of RCNO, I have led the statewide initiative to be discussed in this presentation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.