Reentry Net
Serving People from Arrest to Reintegration

MEDICAID BILL ACTION ALERT
from the Coalition for Women Prisoners


Please read the following update and ACTION STEPS you can take to support legislation sponsored by Senator Kemp Hannon and Assemblymember Keith Wright that would require the state to suspend - instead of terminate - Medicaid for people who have prior enrollment before entering prisons or jails.  Under this proposal, Medicaid would be restored for individuals immediately upon their release from prison.


The 2007 legislative session ends THIS Thursday, June 21st!  The Coalition for Women Prisoners asks that you please make the following calls today, and see below for more information about the bills.


The Assembly bill - A.8356 - has passed all the necessary committees and has been placed on the Assembly Floor Calendar to be voted on.  Please make the following calls to advocate for A.8356:

·         Call Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (518-455-3791) and ask him to lend his support to this critical issue and encourage fellow Assemblymembers to pass this bill during this legislative session.

·         Call the following Co-Sponsors of A.8356 and thank them for co-sponsoring this legislation and ask them to encourage their fellow Assemblymembers to vote for this bill this week.

1.   Assemblymember Jeffrion Aubry (518-455-4561)

2.   Assemblymember Barbara M. Clark (518-455-4711)

3.   Assemblymember William Colton (518-455-5828)

4.   Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick (518-455-4841)

5.   Assemblymember Diane Gordon (518-455-5912)

6.   Assemblymember Richard N. Gottfried (518-455-4941)

7.   Assemblymember Hakeem Jeffries (518-455-5325)

8.   Assemblymember John J. McEneny (518-455-4178)

9.   Assemblymember Joan L. Millman (518-455-5426)

10. Assemblymember Daniel J. O'Donnell (518-455-5603)

11. Assemblymember Felix Ortiz (518-455-3821)

12. Assemblymember Crystal D. Peoples (518-455-5005)

13. Assemblymember Alan Maisel (518-455-5211)

14. Assemblymember Darryl C. Towns (518-455-5821)

15. Assemblymember Michael Benedetto (518-455-5296)


The Senate bill - S.5875 - needs to be voted out of the Rules Committee in order to be placed on the Senate floor calendar to be voted on. Please make the following calls to advocate for S.5875:

·         Call Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (518-455-3191) and ask him to lend his support to this critical issue so that it can be reported out of the Rules Committee and placed on the Senate Floor Calendar as soon as possible.

·         Call Senator Kemp Hannon (518-455-2200) to thank him for sponsoring this legislation, urge him to ask Senate Majority Leader Bruno to pass the bill out of the Rules Committee and place it on the Senate Floor Calendar, and ask him to encourage his fellow Republican Senators to show their support for this bill by voting for it when it reaches the Senate floor.

As you know, immediate access to health care coverage is critical for people coming home from prison: it ensures that formerly incarcerated women and men can receive the medical services they need, eliminates a barrier to reentry and aids individuals in making a successful transition back to their communities, promotes better public health, saves taxpayers money, and reduces recidivism.   Attached please find the Coalition's memo of support for this legislation. In addition, attached and pasted below are examples of formerly incarcerated women whose health was endangered as a result of the delay between their release date and the activation of their Medicaid.  

If you have any questions, please contact Re-entry Committee Co-Chair Alison Brill at alisonbrill@yahoo.com or Jaya at jvasandani@correctionalassociation.org or call 212-254-5700 x311.  Please call today and help make sure that women and men who leave prison receive timely access to critical health care services. 

 

 

Examples of formerly incarcerated women whose health was endangered as a result of the delay between their release date and the activation of their Medicaid

 

Ø       At the time of her release, Arlene was already on the liver transplant list at Westchester Medical Center for end-stage liver disease as a result of her Hepatitis C infection.  Once Arlene was released, she was no longer a candidate for transplant at Westchester Medical.  In addition to applying for Medicaid, when Arlene came home from prison, she had to find a new doctor and hospital to be re-evaluated for a transplant operation.  During this process Arlene was hospitalized several times and her condition worsened.  It took months for Arlene's Medicaid to be activated.  Finally, after five months, Arlene was transferred to Mt. Sinai Hospital where she received the transplant that she desperately needed.

 

Ø       Wanda had a diagnosis of hypertension and high cholesterol.  She left prison with only a few weeks of medication.  Because she had to wait for her Medicaid to be processed, Wanda was not able to pay for the prescriptions that a doctor at a community hospital gave to her.  As a result, she was eventually admitted to the hospital with cardiac symptoms and forced to undergo angioplasty and placement of a stent for coronary artery disease.  These procedures may have been avoided if Wanda had been able to obtain the necessary medication in a timely fashion.

 

Ø       Martha had recurrent breast cancer and had received treatment during her incarceration.  Martha was released a few days before she was scheduled for reconstructive breast surgery.  She also developed lymph edema, a complication of her mastectomy, which required medical treatment.  As a result of the delay in processing Martha's Medicaid application after her release, she had to wait six months to get the treatment and the reconstructive surgery she needed.

 

Ø       While she was incarcerated, Julia was diagnosed with Hepatitis C with severe liver damage.  After Julia was released, it took months for her Medicaid to be activated, and it was not until five months later that Julia finally began to receive the appropriate treatment for her illness.

 

Ø       During her incarceration, Laura suffered serious complications while having surgery.  Although Laura had Medicaid before going into prison, she had to wait for more than three months to get the coverage she needed in order to secure appropriate follow-up care for her surgery after her release.

 

Ø       Lois was released from prison with only two weeks of medication for her serious hypertension condition.  Because of various complications, Lois was unable to get her prescription filled the first time she visited a hospital in the community after prison.  As a result, her blood pressure eventually rose to a dangerously high level.  For the next two months while she waited for her Medicaid coverage to be processed, Lois had to go back and forth to the emergency room every few weeks to get her medication.

 

Ø       Doreen had several psychiatric diagnoses in addition to a seizure disorder condition and hypertension.  After prison, Doreen had to be taken to Kings County Psychiatric Emergency Room for an evaluation.  It turned out that Doreen needed to change her mental health medication.  Because her Medicaid had not been activated, the only way for Doreen to get her medication was to continually go to the hospital emergency room to have the doctor write and fill prescriptions for her.

 

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