Formerly Incarcerated Transition Program
Nearly 25,000 people were released from state prisons in North Carolina in 2017. Upon release from incarceration, individuals are frequently without housing, employment, health insurance, or access to healthcare services. The Formerly Incarcerated Transition (FIT) Program, sponsored by UNC Family Medicine, connects formerly incarcerated individuals who have a chronic disease, mental illness and/or substance use disorder with appropriate healthcare services and other reentry resources. To read the November 2018 FIT newsletter, select here.
What is the Formerly Incarcerated Transition Program (FIT)?
The FIT Program is a partnership between UNC Family Medicine, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (which administers the state prisons), The North Carolina Community Health Center Association, Federally Qualified Health Centers, County Departments of Public Health, community-based reentry organizations and local reentry councils. The initial FIT Program started in Durham County partnering with Lincoln Community Health Center, The Durham County Department of Health and the Durham Criminal Justice Resource Center which administers the Durham local reentry council.
The FIT Program utilizes Community Health Workers (CHWs) with a personal history of incarceration, to connect recently released people with chronic disease, mental illness and/or substance use disorder to appropriate health care services and helps put together a comprehensive reentry plan working with local reentry partners.
The NC FIT Program is based on the Transitions Clinic Network model that has shown improved outcomes for participants. The NC FIT Program is a member of this nationwide network of 25 clinical sites.
NC FIT Program Sites and Partners
The FIT Program of Durham County:
Durham County Department of Public Health, Lincoln Community Health Center, The Durham Local Reentry Council
The FIT Program of Orange County:
Orange County Department of Public Health, Piedmont Health Services, Inc., Orange County Reentry Council
The FIT Program of Wake County:
UNC Department of Psychiatry, UNC Healthcare at Wakebrook, Advance Community Health Center, Wake County Local Reentry Council
The FIT Program of Mecklenburg County:
The Center for Community Transitions, Charlotte Community Health Clinic, Re-entry Partners of Mecklenburg
How is the FIT Program Funded?
Funding to support our Community Health Workers (CHWs) in Durham and Orange is a combination of a grant from The Duke Endowment and support by the Durham and Orange County Departments of Public Health. Initial seed funding for the program in Durham came from the NC Division of Public Health. A contract with the NC Department of Public Safety is allowing us to expand the FIT Program to Wake and Mecklenburg Counties.
A significant barrier to health care services for our clients is a lack of insurance. Most formerly incarcerated people do not qualify for Medicaid and have no health insurance. The FIT Program provides vouchers to cover the office visits and medication costs for uninsured patients. Office visits at Community Health Centers are $20-$30 and medications cost between $4-$20 per month per medication.
We are working with our community partners and foundations to obtain long term funding for the CHWs. We rely entirely on private donations to cover our voucher program.
Please consider making a donation. Formerly incarcerated people face multiple barriers to care and this program can really make a difference in their lives.
Thank you for your support!
News and Media
They’re Out of Prison, Can They Stay Out of The Hospital?
New York Times, 5/29/18
UNC-led FIT Program helps former prisoners take on chronic illnesses
UNC Health Care News 8/2017
FIT Program Provides Critical Support for Former Inmates
WUNC — The State of Things, June 13th