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Jails and Health Information Technology:
a Framework for Creating Connectivity

Jails and Health Information Technology: A Framework For Creating Connectivity

An underlying connectivity framework of three macro systems collects and communicates health care data about incarcerated individuals: jail management systems, jail health systems, and community health systems. Ideally, all three systems would communicate seamlessly.

connectivity framework: please click display images

But no jail serves as a model for connecting all three systems. Five case studies presented in this paper, detail how different jurisdictions have implemented or are attempting to implement various parts of this connectivity framework. It is intended that jurisdictions can learn from these case studies and use them as templates for their own connectivity efforts.

Ben Butler, COCHS

The Triple Aims of Correctional Health: Patient Safety, Population Health, and Human Rights

Correctional health systems represent some of the largest health systems in the United States, caring for patients with high rates of morbidity and mortality. The poorly understood realm of correctional health care represents a missed opportunity to integrate care for these patients with care provided by community health providers. Three aims are integral to effective correctional health: patient safety, population health, and human rights. Patient safety and population health are well- defi ned aims in community health care systems and emerging in correctional settings. Dual loyalty and other unique challenges in correctional settings make the human rights aim absolutely essential for promoting correctional health.

Ross MacDonald, MD
Amanda Parsons, MD, MBA
Homer D. Venters, MD, MS

The Impact Of Policies Promoting
Health Information Technology
On Health Care Delivery In Jails And Local Communities

Ben Butler and Judy Murphy examine how decisions largely external to jails —coming from the Supreme Court, Congress, and local policy makers— have contributed to the growth of health IT within jails and health information exchange between jails and local communities (abstract only without subscription).

Ben Butler, chief information officer, COCHS.

Judy Murphy, deputy national coordinator for programs and policy at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Department of Health and Human Services.

Technology and Continuity of Care: Connecting Justice and Health

At the end of 2014, Community Oriented Correctional Health Services (COCHS) received funds from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to develop nine case studies on data-sharing between the criminal justice and the health care sectors to promote continuity of care.

Passage of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act in 2009 spurred an unparalleled investment in the nationwide adoption of health information technology. One of the chief aims of HITECH is to improve coordination and continuity of care through data-sharing.

Criminal justice and behavioral health care providers, however, have been passed over by this technological wave. We developed nine case studies as a way to provide insights from a range of jurisdictions and organizations and inform data-sharing efforts in other communities.

Ben Butler, CIO COCHS
Nan Torrey, MA
Ben Watts, MBA
Daniel J. Mistak, JD
Leta Smith, PhD

Predictive Analytics in Health Care and Criminal Justice: Three Case Studies

In this issue paper, Ben Butler, COCHS' CIO, examines three case studies where predictive analytics are being used to assist health care providers along with criminal justice professionals in reducing incarceration, improving health, and maintaining public safety. Read issue paper...

Health Affairs Publishes Ben Butler's Letter:
Health Information Exchange and Jails

In the June, 20 issue of Health Affairs, Ben Butler, responds to a March 2015 Health Affairs' article, Despite The Spread Of Health Information Exchange, There Is Little Evidence Of Its Impact On Cost, Use, And Quality Of Care, by Saurabh Rahurkar and coauthors. In his letter, Ben suggests that jails offer an interesting opportunity to test the efficacy of health information exchange (HIE) for improving the health of a very vulnerable population.

New HIE Funding Opportunities for Corrections:
Health Information Technology’s Role in Reducing Mass Incarceration

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on February 29, 2016 released a Dear State Medicaid Director letter which expanded the list of providers that could participate in the 90 percent federal matching funds (90/10) on state activities to promote health information exchange (HIE). The new expanded list includes correctional health providers. This addition is a recognition that coordinating care of individuals cycling through the criminal justice is an important contribution in assisting eligible Medicaid providers in the community to meet EHR Incentive objectives of Meaningful Use

To coincide with this announcement, COCHS is disseminating a new issue paper by COCHS CIO Ben Butler, New HIE Funding Opportunities for Corrections: Health Information Technology’s Role in Reducing Mass Incarceration. In this paper, Ben outlines the potential of HIE to vastly improve connectivity between community and correctional healthcare and possibly help reduce mass incarceration. Read more...

Hampden County's Correctional Health Care Model

COCHS was established in 2006 to promote a public health model of correctional health care that was developed in Hampden County, Massachusetts. This model treats inmates as individuals temporarily displaced. Instead of silo-ed health care, inmates' health needs are integrated between corrections and community. Read more..

The Promise Story
The Promise story is a short video that describes how Hampden County fosters partnerships between local jails and community health providers.View video...

When the Old Sheriff Leaves Town
Former COCHS board member, Mike Ashe retires as sheriff of Hampden County, Massachusetts. Sheriff Ashe brought community health providers into his jail because he understood that inmates were temporarily displaced community members and continuity of care was important for their successful re-entry. This model was the impetus for the creation of COCHS by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2006. Read more...

HITECH Act and the ACA—New Opportunities for Correctional Providers

In this article, Ben Butler, COCHS' CIO, examines the important ways in which jail correctional health programs can now benefit from provisions of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) that provide generous cash incentives for health providers who migrate to and share data electronic health records (EHRs). Under the original HITECH provisions, jails were excluded from participation; but passage of the ACA, which included the expansion of Medicaid to individuals based solely on income, had the effect of lifting the prohibition on CMS payments to programs treating inmates. Jails now can enjoy significant new funding under the revised criteria. This article explains, in detail, how. View article...

Prescribing and Dispensing Medications within Corrections:
The Role of Health Information Technology

COCHS' Chief Information Officer Ben Butler’s latest issue paper describing how medications are prescribed and dispensed in a criminal justice system setting. While many community providers can assume that their community has an existing infrastructure for the prescribing and dispensing of medications, correctional facilities often have to implement their own systems for this purpose. Ben’s paper is the first of its type describing these vital components of correctional health care. This paper outlines the ways in which multiple technologies and multiple stakeholders must cooperate to build out systems unique to their environment.
Read issue paper...