The Nathaniel Clinic: Integrating Behavioral Health and Primary Care for Criminal Justice-involved Patients
November 5, 2015
Access to physical, mental, and behavioral health services for individuals involved in the criminal justice system is a major challenge. Research has shown, however, that providing affordable and accessible health care services for this population has been proven to lower rates of recidivism.
A previous NYHealth grant to Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services (CASES) supported the opening of the Nathaniel Clinic in Central Harlem, the first Article 31-licensed clinic in the State designed to serve youth and adults who have mental illness are involved with the criminal justice system. Although the Nathaniel Clinic has had a large impact on the mental health front, many of its patients are either not engaged in primary care or their connection is insufficient to address their medical conditions adequately. In 2015, NYHealth awarded a grant to CASES to partner with the Institute for Family Health (IFH) to integrate primary care services into the Nathaniel Clinic’s mental health services.
Under this grant, CASES and IFH extended primary care into the Nathanial Clinic. Specifically, IFH delivered on-site primary care services that included physical health assessment and health monitoring by a nurse practitioner. Additionally, CASES partnered with IFH on wellness promotion strategies to help clients learn necessary skills and habits to prevent future illness. As State regulations allow for Medicaid reimbursement of only a limited amount of primary care services provided by an Article 31 clinic, CASES and IFH established a satellite of IFH’s federally qualified health center in Harlem co-located within the Nathaniel Clinic. The satellite provided on-site primary care, specialty referrals, and person-centered wellness services. All of the clinic’s services were Medicaid-reimbursable, allowing the clinic to become financially stable by its second year of operation.