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CMS funds nursing home for prisoners

April 28, 2017
by Nicole Stempak, Senior Editor
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Nursing home 60 West serves a diverse population—one that includes paroled prisoners.

The facility in Rocky Hill, Connecticut, is the first in the nation to receive approval from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for federal nursing home funding. Mediciad will cover half the cost of care for qualified inmates, which will save Connecticut about $5 million a year.

60 West, a privately-owned facility under contract with the state, received notice in December that CMS reversed its 2015 rejection for federal certification, ruling that paroled inmates did not meet federal guidelines. The 95-bed facility was deemed eligible for federal funds. It's now being watched as a national model for states struggling to find ways to care for a growing population of aging and sick inmates.

“There is a need for this type of facility in every state in the country,” said Michael Lawlor, the state’s undersecretary for criminal justice policy and planning to the Hartford Courant. “It’s way more expensive to provide this care in the context of a prison. … If they are in a real nursing home, you get 50 percent (funding) from the feds. In prison, you get 0 percent.”

Many of the 60 West residents are on nursing home-release parole, a form of parole whereby the correction department determines inmates are “suffering from a terminal condition, disease or syndrome” and “be physically incapable of presenting a danger to society.” 

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