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The Unseen Provider: Health Care in Our Jails
National Jail Exchange

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Source: Community Oriented Correctional Health Services (COCHS)

This 8-minute video presents the case for implementing electronic health information exchanges (HIEs) that bridge the gap between jails and public health agencies, with the twin goals of cost savings and improving services to vulnerable populations. With Camden, New Jersey, as a backdrop, the video features local and national experts in community and jail-based health care, who discuss the HIE solution.

Without an exchange, jails can become an “island” where patients disappear from the view of community medical providers who are treating them for chronic illnesses, mental health issues, and substance abuse problems. At the same time, jail medical personnel are searching for information on inmates’ medical history and re-diagnosing their medical issues at great effort and cost. Many jails continue to use hard-copy paper filing systems, yet another barrier between community providers and patient care information.

Extending to jails real-time access to a web-based system of patient medical information can resolve this impasse. The Camden Health Information Exchange illustrates a solution for improving public health by including jail-based care providers.

The video features observations from Dr. Farzad Mostashari, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Dr. Jeff Brenner, Director and Founder of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers; Sandi Selzer, Director of the Camden Health Information Exchange; Dr. Alishia Saunders-Richie, Project H.O.P.E., Camden; Rita Varano, MSW, LCSW, Cooper University Hospital, Camden; and Michael DuBose, CEO, Community Oriented Correctional Health Services (COCHS).

View the video here

Additional resources from COCHS:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): ACA and Justice-Involved Populations. COCHS, October 2013. 5 pages.

Answers 11 common questions about jails, inmate medical and mental health care needs, and the implications for jails of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”).

Jails and Health Information Technology: A Framework for Creating Connectivity? COCHS, August 2013. 29 pages.

This paper shares insights from the experiences of jail staff, medical care providers, and technology vendors in five jurisdictions working toward jail health information technology (HIT) connectivity. The five sites are Orlando (Orange County), Florida; Portland (Multnomah County), Oregon; New York City, New York; Springfield (Hampden County), Massachusetts; and Lexington (Fayette County), Kentucky.

Posted Thu, Feb 6 2014 7:30 AM by Susan Powell


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This blog is funded by a contract from the National Institute of Corrections, U.S. Department of Justice. Points of view or opinions stated in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.