Hospitals aim to decrease spending, limit high ER utilizers by helping homeless

Hospitals continuously look for ways to decrease spending. One method embraced by some organizations involves helping homeless people find housing, according to a California Healthline report.

Reducing costs is not the only incentive for these hospitals. Organizations say efforts to help homeless people find housing could affect the volume of hospital ER visits, as a greater percentage of homeless patients are found to be high utilizers of healthcare services, and can help nonprofits meet community benefit requirements to keep their tax-exempt status, according to the report.

Hospitals are investing a lot of money in housing projects, according data from the New York City-based Corporation for Supportive Housing. CSH, which California Healthline describes as "a national lender and promoter of housing development for homeless people," told the publication hospitals CSH has worked with have invested $75 million to $100 million into projects.

The report provides numerous examples of hospitals' efforts. For instance, San Francisco-based Dignity Health has created the "Housing with Dignity" program through a partnership with Lutheran Social Services. According to Dignity Health, the program uses numerous transitional apartments "that help individuals experiencing homelessness, access wrap around services like; medication management, behavioral health support, access to primary care physicians, transportation, life skills training, and access to resources like 'SMART'  application support for accessing social security benefits, with the goal of transitioning these individuals into permanent supportive housing." Insurer Health Net helps provide financial assistance for the housing.

And Sacramento, Calif.-based Sutter Health recently launched a campaign "to effectively end homelessness in Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties in the next three years."

Read the full report here.

 

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