a Thomas McMicken Legacy Program for jail transition
Healthcare: Access, Navigation, Delivery and Support
Helping HANDS is an award winning innovative jail transition program unique to Polk County. It focuses on Healthcare Access, Navigation, Delivery and Support for Polk County inmates returning to the community from jail. The program focuses on inmates who have had two or more arrests in the past 12 months and are receiving psychotropic medications while in jail. Referrals to the program come from the jail or via the community partner agencies listed below. Participation is voluntary, not court ordered.
Project collaboration includes the following Partners
- Polk County Sheriff’s Office
- Polk County Health and Human Services Division
- Polk County Fire Rescue
- Central Florida Behavioral Health Network
- Corizon Health
- Tri-County Human Services
- Winter Haven Hospital Center for Behavioral Health
- Lakeland Regional Health
- Peace River Center
Community Paramedics (CPs) from Polk County Fire and Rescue engage inmates prior to their release from jail and up to six weeks after release to ensure the participant connects with a local behavioral health provider and accesses appropriate social services programs. The goal is to have the CPs meet participants in their homes within 48 hours of release to deliver a 30-day supply of all medications and provide an overall health review. CPs will be available to respond to the urgent needs of the participants.
Certified Recovery Peer Specialists help participants troubleshoot problems that may arise and encourage them to be accountable to their treatment plans. They will assist with ongoing social service connections, advocate for the participants needs and mentor individuals to encourage success.
Helping Achieve Targeted Comprehensive Healthcare (HATCH) is a separate program within Helping HANDS which targets Helping HANDS participants who are homeless or at risk of homelessness by assessing the persons needs to identify and obtaining housing. Assistance may include finding permanent or temporary housing, obtaining food, clothing, hygiene items, furniture, etc. and applying for benefits such as SSI/SSDI. Additionally, routine support is provided to assess participants needs to obtain and maintain housing. Helping HANDS clients who are identified with these needs are referred by the CP or Peer Specialist for assistance.