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Primary Care and Health Insurance among Women Released from New York City Jails

Factors associated with primary care utilization and health insurance coverage were examined among 511 women leaving jail in New York City from 1997–2001. One year after release, roughly half of the sample reported primary care utilization (47%) and health insurance coverage (56%). Neither outcome was more likely among those reporting diabetes, asthma, or depression. Primary care utilization was more likely among those reporting receipt of public benefits, health insurance coverage, moderate social support, avoidance of illegal activity, and HIV seropositivity. Health insurance coverage was associated with receipt of public benefits, hospitalization, primary care, and avoiding re-arrest. This study demonstrated that a majority of women leaving jail, including those with chronic diseases, lack primary care. These data highlight the need to plan for continuity of care from corrections to the community and suggest further that this can be facilitated with provision of health benefits and social support.

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