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10/21/2021 09:05 PM
Pennsylvania State Senate
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=S&SPick=20210&cosponId=33028
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: December 3, 2020 01:54 PM
From: Senator Lisa Baker
To: All Senate members
Subject: Achieving Efficiencies and Cost Reductions By Offering Medical Parole for Pennsylvania’s Oldest, Sickest, and Most Expensive Inmates
 
As noted during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing held last session, inmates in need of geriatric care, or who are suffering from certain severe and/or terminal illnesses, could be more effectively, efficiently, and humanely treated if the Commonwealth were to modify its existing procedures and adopt a medical parole program.

Currently, pursuant to Title 42 Section 9777, inmates who suffer from a serious or terminal illness can petition the court that originally sentenced them and ask that they be transferred to a hospital, long-term nursing facility or hospice location for treatment. Unfortunately, the process is unnecessarily time consuming and, as a result, rarely used. Transitioning to a useable medical parole process would not only help provide humane care for inmates who qualify but would also reduce our state obligation by allowing for the drawdown of federal Medicare and Medicaid dollars to pay for this care.

With respect to inmates who are sentenced after the effective date of this legislation, my plan would authorize the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, in consultation with the Department of Corrections, to grant medical parole under certain circumstances, and after appropriate consideration of the following:
  • The type and seriousness of the crime involved
  • The length of sentence served
  • The age of the inmate
  • The mental and physical condition of the inmate as determined by an appropriate medical evaluation
  • Whether the release of the inmate would pose any danger to society
  • Input provided by victims or the Office of Victim Advocate
Individuals granted medical parole would be released subject to such other terms and conditions, as the board would deem appropriate. The process would also require notification to both the original sentencing court and district attorney.
With respect to inmates sentenced after the effective date of this legislation, the bill would both increase the number of individuals potentially eligible to participate and streamline the process currently outlined in Title 42 Section 9777.  Once again, this would allow for Medicaid and Medicare dollars to pay for this care. 

I hope you will join me in supporting this important initiative.