Oregon lawmakers look to regulate how hospitals discharge homeless patients

Oregon lawmakers are considering new measures to regulate how hospitals discharge homeless patients after 34-year-old Melissa Blake died of hypothermia after she left Salem (Ore.) Health Hospital, local news outlet KATU reported March 29.

Senate Bill 1076 would require hospitals to bring homeless patients to a shelter or service provider and provide them with a warm meal, clothes, transportation, health screening and help with enrolling in Medicaid.

Oregon hospitals have said they do not have the resources to comply with the measures.

"1076 requires hospital emergency departments to take on more, placing the burden of Oregon's systematic homelessness crisis already on a stressed healthcare system," Andi Easton, an Association of Oregon Hospitals lobbyist, said during a hearing on the bill.

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