EUGENE, Ore. — Homeless hospital patients now have a care facility where they can recover. It not only meets their health care needs, but also reduces financial stress on the health care system.
“We have a long-standing challenge with patients that are homeless that also have a lot of medical issues. They are very vulnerable,” says Dan Reece with PeaceHealth Medical Group.
For many, the emergency room is their primary provider. But once discharged, they have no place to recover. Often times, they end up back in the emergency room.
ShelterCare and PeaceHealth have joined forces to launch two pilot programs. One would house homeless patients for 30 days, where they will have access to medical care and other supportive services.
“Each participant is assigned a community health worker that helps with medical coordination, medical appointments, communicating with medical providers and following through with medical direction,” says Sarah Chapman with the ShelterCare Family Housing Program.
The other program lasts six months. That would help individuals regain stability and find permanent housing.
The programs are projected to produce net health care cost savings of more than 34 percent each year, by reducing hospital lengths of stay and unnecessary emergency room visits.
“The real long term goal is to change lives, so that they can escape homelessness for the rest of their lives and get themselves on a trajectory where their quality of life improves and their health improves,” says Reece.
Respite programs have taken off all across the country and have been proven to reduce future hospitalization for homeless individuals.
Currently, 13 patients are enrolled in the pilot programs in Lane County.