San Francisco's City College
scored over $6 million from the Health Care Innovation Awards to help former prisoners become community health workers.
The grant will be used to facilitate the Post-Prison Health Worker Certificate Program, which trains inmates to use their personal experiences of incarceration to identify and address the needs of chronically ill inmates once they're released from prison. The new healthcare workers will help to connect their recently released peers to medical and social services.
"Community health workers, who also have been incarcerated, guide our patients through the complex and fragmented healthcare system and social services network in the community," reads the program's mission statement.
The program, dubbed Transitions Clinic Network
, is a collaborative partnership between City College, U.C. San Francisco, and Yale University. By linking "high-risk"
Medicaid patients from prison to community primary care providers, the
program claims it will save more than a $1 million in the public-health sector. The predicted outcomes after three years are a reduction in
hospital admissions and emergency room visits and improved access to
adequate health care.
The goal of the Healthcare Innovation Awards
distributed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is to support local projects geared toward providing better care at lower costs, especially among populations with the highest healthcare needs. The awards are funding up to $1 billion in grants, including 17 projects based in California.
City College anticipates training upward of 50 former inmates to become community health workers in the next three years. Once trained, they will play an integral role in helping other inmates reintegrate successfully into their communities. Follow us on Twitter @TheSnitchSF and @SFWeekly