Health Care Reform, Behavioral Health, and the Criminal Justice Population
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- Cuellar, A.E. & Cheema, J. J Behav Health Serv Res (2014) 41: 447. doi:10.1007/s11414-014-9404-0
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The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has a number of important features for individuals who are involved with the criminal justice system. Among the most important changes is the expansion of Medicaid to more adults. The current study estimates that 10% of the total Medicaid expansion could include individuals who have experienced recent incarceration. The ACA also emphasizes the importance of mental health and substance abuse benefits, potentially changing the landscape of behavioral health treatment providers willing to serve criminal justice populations. Finally, it seeks to promote coordinated care delivery. New care delivery and appropriate funding models are needed to address the behavioral health and other chronic conditions experienced by those in criminal justice and to coordinate care within the complex structure of the justice system itself.