City College awarded federal grant to streamline health care for former prisoners

San Francisco – The San Francisco Community College District (City College of San Francisco) has received a Health Care Innovation Award from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. City College, in partnership with the University of California San Francisco and Yale University, won the award for their plan to address the health care needs of high-risk, high-cost Medicaid and Medicaid-eligible patients released from prison.

The program, called “Transitions Clinic Network: linking high-risk Medicaid patients from prison to community primary care,” will target 11 community health centers in six states – New York, California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, Alabama – as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. It will work with each area’s department of corrections to identify chronically ill patients prior to release and will employ community health workers to help them navigate the care system, find primary care and other medical and social services, and coach them in chronic disease management.

City College of San Francisco will train former prisoners to be community health workers in their innovative Post-Prison Health Worker Certificate Program. Through this training, these former prisoners will overcome the stigma of incarceration, leverage their experience of incarceration to gain employment as community health workers and in return give back to their communities.

Communities struggling to care for returning prisoners, especially in difficult financial times, will benefit as the outcomes will include reduced reliance on emergency room care, fewer hospital admissions, and lower costs associated with improved patient health and better access to appropriate care.

City College of San Francisco will train former prisoners to be community health workers to help chronically ill patients released from prison navigate the care system, find primary care and other medical and social services, and coach them in chronic disease management.

“This award is the culmination of years of research, planning and collaboration to address the issue of access to health care for some of our highest risk and medically complex populations,” said Shira Shavit, M,D., associate clinical professor at UCSF and executive director of the Transitions Clinic Network. “The important work we will do with the funds from this award will result in streamlined care and ultimately, more than a million dollars in public health cost savings to our target areas.”

The funding amount of the award is $6,852,153 and the estimated three-year savings to various public health programs upon completion is $8,115,855. Over a three-year period, the Transitions Clinic Network will create an estimated 12.3 jobs and train an estimated 53.7 workers. The new workforce will include seven community health workers, 11 part-time panel managers, two part-time project coordinators, one research analyst and two part-time project staff.

This is a cooperative agreement between the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Care Innovation Awards are funding up to $1 billion in grants to applicants who will implement the most compelling new ideas to deliver better health, improved care and lower costs to people enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), particularly those with the highest health care needs.

For more information about the funding program, see http://innovations.cms.gov/initiatives/Innovation-Awards/index.html.

About City College

City College of San Francisco (CCSF) is an urban community college serving about 90,000 students annually at nine campuses and many other sites throughout San Francisco. The largest school in California, it offers an affordable opportunity to earn associate degrees, prepare for transfer, and pursue career and technical education. City College also offers distance learning and free noncredit courses in many fields. For more information, visit www.ccsf.edu.