UNM Hospital Chief Medical Officer Irene Agostini, MD, is joining Bernalillo County officials at a conference this week aimed at helping large urban counties improve public health, reduce jail populations and save money.

Agostini is attending the conference in Chicago with Bernalillo County Commission Chair Maggie Hart Stebbins and Metropolitan Detention Center Chief Phil Greer. 

Organized by the Center for Health and Justice at Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities, the two-day conference will focus on how large urban counties can leverage Medicaid to help uninsured people gain coverage, improve their health, avoid jail and ultimately save counties millions of dollars.

“Bernalillo County has made tremendous progress in managing the Metropolitan Detention Center, but it’s critical that we continue to learn and improve by collaborating with other county leaders and healthcare experts from other large counties,” Hart Stebbins said. “The cost of running the jail continues to increase every year. Many inmates struggle with substance abuse and mental illness. Addressing the root cause of these health problems can both improve public health and reduce county budget costs in the long run.”