AMA Adopts AMDA Policy to Develop Best Practices for Taking Care of Residents with Criminal Backgrounds

November 20, 2013
Perry Gwen Meyers,

Columbia, MD — This week at the American Medical Association (AMA) interim meeting of the House of Delegates, the AMA passed a resolution put forth by AMDA – Dedicated to Long Term Care Medicine (AMDA). Resolution 702, “Addressing the Expected Increase in Long-Term Care Residents with Criminal/Correctional Histories,” was originally presented at AMA’s 2011 Annual Meeting and the AMA Board of Trustees assigned the item to the Council on Medical Service for a report back to the House of Delegates.

The report recommends that the AMA “encourage the long-term care provider and correctional care communities, including AMDA, the Society of Correctional Physicians, the National Commission on Correctional Health Care, the American Psychiatric Association, long-term care (LTC) advocacy groups and offender advocacy groups, to work together to develop national best practices on how best to provide care to, and develop appropriate care plans for individuals with violent criminal backgrounds or violent tendencies in LTC facilities while ensuring the safety of all residents of the facilities.” Other recommendations include conducting research on approaches to care planning and risk management based on patient history and background; conducting research on potential liabilities for providers caring for residents with criminal backgrounds; and the development of policies and guidelines on how to transition individuals recently released from incarceration to LTC facilities, with consideration given to their individual histories, by the National Commission on Correctional Physicians and the National Commission on Correctional Health Care. 

AMDA staff attended the meeting, as did Eric Tangalos, MD, CMD, AMDA Past President and AMA Delegate, who commented, “It is always rewarding to bring AMDA policy to the AMA so that the House of Medicine can use its resources and clout to leverage what we believe is best for our patients, our physicians and our facilities.  We took AMDA’s concerns regarding LTC residents with criminal backgrounds to the AMA in 2011 and now the AMA Council on Medical Service has served up a complete report with five new policies that were adopted by the AMA on the subject.  New policy is in place where there was none before – and all because AMDA has the expertise and the opportunity to move medicine forward on its largest stage.”

AMDA looks forward to working with the Society of Correctional Physicians, the National Commission on Correctional Health Care, the American Psychiatric Association, and many other LTC stakeholders to develop policies addressing best practices regarding this important issue.