A 95-bed nursing home near Hartford, Conn., looks like most other facilities that provide care for the aged. But many of the elderly and ill residents are paroled prisoners, and the home is being watched nationally as a potential game-changer for states grappling for ways to care for their aging inmate populations, reports the Hartford Courant. The facility, 60 West, is the first in the country to win approval from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for federal nursing home funding — a designation that has national significance, experts say, because it’s a new option for cash-strapped states looking for ways to care for growing populations of older and sicker inmates.
Tina Maschi, a Fordham University professor who studies aging prisoners, called the Connecticut innovation a model for the “difficult problem of caring for seriously, terminally ill prisoners.” In December, 60 West, a privately owned facility under contract with the state, was notified that CMS had reversed its 2015 rejection for federal certification and granted the facility the same status as thousands of other nursing homes across the country, making it eligible for federal funds — a development first reported by the The Crime Report. Ailing inmates who qualify for nursing home-level care and who the state deems are not public safety risks are referred to 60 West. Medicaid covers half the cost of their care, which will save the state about $5 million annually.