Kentucky is looking at a plan that would parole some ill prison inmates to nursing homes as a way to defer the cost of caring for them, the Associated Press reports.
The General Assembly OKed the pilot program. The AP story focuses on a nursing care program at the Kentucky State Reformatory that costs the state $4.4 million annually. The state spends $132 more per ill inmate than on average inmates—and the population of older inmates in increasing, the AP added.
The situation is that federal Medicaid program would cover most of the tab if the inmates were paroled but not if they’re in custody. The state covers the bill now. So the pilot program seeks to parole inmates (except those on death role or who are sex offenders) to private nursing homes, the AP reports.
But it’s not the mission of private nursing facilities to cater to ex-convicts, said Steve McClain, communications director for the Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities. Kentucky nursing homes have among the highest liability costs in the country, according to a 2013 study from the American Health Care Association and Aon Global Risk Consulting.
“There’s just a huge liability risk that our facilities have anyway, that they are not going to take this without a lot of thought and discussion,” McClain said.
The new program, enacted as part of the state budget, requires the parole board to parole inmates if they meet certain conditions. Even then, however, they might not have a place to go.