One of the significant advocacy victories of last year’s budget was
allowing a waiver for New York State to have the ability to provide
Medicaid services during the last thirty days of incarceration for an
individual. New York State has submitted this waiver, but we need Federal
support through CMS in order for the waiver to be approved.

As we know, individuals with behavioral health issues are in
disproportionate numbers in the corrections system. By allowing for
provision of Medicaid services, thirty days before discharge, it will
provide the opportunity for individuals to re-enter the community with some
services already in place and not have to wait months for Medicaid

Our advocacy charge is to provide letters to the Federal Government urging
their support for this waiver. Deadline for letter submission is November
20th. The information is posted below.

Thanks to our colleagues at The Legal Action Center for spreading the word
about this important issue.

Dear colleagues,

The Federal government is seeking public comments on New York’s request to
use Medicaid services during the last 30 days of incarceration. We are
trying to get as many comments as possible (from around the country)
submitted before the deadline which is, unfortunately, the end of this week
(Sunday, November 20 at 11AM). We urge you to submit comments, as this
waiver will significantly increase incarcerated individuals’ chances to
successfully transition into the community.

Here is the link for submitting comments:
Attached is Legal Action’s comments for you to use as a template. Feel free
to adopt our language more or less wholesale.

Additionally, please send this request far and wide to all of your
networks. Below is a list of talking points to explain the purpose of the
waiver, which we will also be sending to all of our lists.

Medicaid – Public Comments – New York Partnership Plan …

New York submitted a request to amend its 1115 demonstration to provide
limited transitional coverage for services to incarcerated individuals who
are enrolled in …

– New York is seeking federal approval to become the first state in the
nation to use Medicaid to pay for certain services that would help
individuals transition from incarceration back to the community.
– Incarcerated individuals would be connected to treatment, medication
support and intensive care coordination prior to release, instituting a
continuum of care and thereby improving their health.
– Using Medicaid to help people as they leave jails and prison would be
a huge step in transforming the criminal justice system from a punishment
to a treatment-focused model
– Disruptions in medical care upon reentry lead to poor and costly
health outcomes, such as increased drug use and re-incarceration, including
a 12-fold rise in the risk of death in the first two weeks post-release.
– Providing the needed array of transitional services would
significantly increase the chances of a successful reentry into the

The Federal government has asked for public comments in response to New
York’s waiver request. These comments are due this week. ACT NOW and tell
the Federal government to take this transformative step in changing in the
criminal justice system and strengthening local communities.

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