Transitional Care Coordination in New York City Jails: Facilitating Linkages to Care for People with HIV Returning Home from Rikers Island
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New York City (NYC) jails are the epicenter of an epidemic that overwhelmingly affects Black and Hispanic men and offer a significant opportunity for public health intervention. The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene instituted population based approaches to identify the HIV-infected, initiate discharge planning at jail admission, and facilitate post-release linkages to primary care. Using a caring and supportive ‘warm transitions’ approach, transitional care services are integral to continuity of care. Since 2010, over three-quarters of known HIV-infected inmates admitted to jails received discharge plans; 74 % of those released were linked to primary care. The EnhanceLink initiative’s new Health Liaison, a lynchpin role, facilitated 250 court-led placements in medical alternatives to incarceration. Transitional care coordination programs are critical to facilitate continuity of care for people with chronic health conditions including the HIV-infected returning home from jail and for the public health of the communities to which they return.