U.S. Gov’t Accountability Office Suggests Federal Prison System Readdress Health Care Reentry Policies

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By Kaylee Pearlman 

WASHINGTON, DC  – The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) voiced concern this past Monday with the federal Bureau of Prison’s health care program, noting, “BOP has not assessed the effectiveness of its health care reentry policies and procedures.”

Citing federal law that “requires the Bureau to create procedures to help inmates apply for federal and state benefits – like Medicaid – when they are released,” the GAO said BOP is “inconsistent with federal internal control standards” and should “reassess policies and procedures for continued effectiveness.”

The GAO noted the BOP “is responsible for the custody and care of inmates…(and) over 35,000 [inmates] in 2021 – may face challenges reentering society, including accessing health care.”

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 “includes a provision for GAO to review inmate health care, including enrollment in Medicaid upon release from prison,” and the GAO has a report that “examines BOP policies and procedures to facilitate inmates’ enrollment…or other health coverage and continuity of care upon release.”

According to GAO, “the BOP collects some information that could support an assessment…but it is not using this information and has no plans to do so.”

GAO added, “By assessing effectiveness, BOP would have a better understanding of whether or not its approach is assisting inmates during the reentry process with their health care.””

To add, the GAO  said, “the Bureau hasn’t assessed whether its health care reentry policies and procedures are effective…We recommend that the Bureau address this issue.”

The  GAO also recommended, “BOP assess the effectiveness of its reentry policies and procedures for facilitating inmate enrollment in health coverage and helping ensure continuity of care.”

About The Author

Kaylee is a senior at CSU Long Beach majoring in Criminal Justice. She is interested in the law and passionate about social justice! Following her graduation, she plans on returning to school to get a B.S. in psychology. In the future, she strives to become a criminal psychologist.

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