The Way Home Symposium, made possible by the generous support of the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust, and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, spotlight efforts from around the country that are exploring new and innovative ways for tackling homelessness and addressing the many social determinants that drive it.
Stephen Brown - Director of Preventative Emergency Medicine, University of Illinois Hospital (Chicago, Illinois) The University of Illinois Hospital is testing a program to reduce costs by providing housing to the high users of their ER. In the first 5 months of the program they were able to move 14 of those 120 people identified to more stable housing.
Josh Green, M.D. - State Senator, District 3 Hawaii (Honolulu, Hawaii) According to The National Alliance to End Homelessness, Hawaii has the highest rate of homelessness of all US states. Hawaii State Senator Josh Green, an emergency room doctor, saw that these chronic conditions were difficult to manage when those individuals did not have permanent housing. Green introduced a bill in Hawaii Legislature to classify chronic homelessness as a medical condition and require insurance companies to cover treatment of the condition, enabling doctors to 'prescribe' housing.
Desiree Partain - Mobile Integrated Healthcare Manager, Medstar (Forth Worth, Texas) MedStar uses mobile health care paramedics to provide in-home and telephone-based support to patients who frequently call 911. This includes patient populations who are at risk for preventable admissions or readmissions, and calls that are often not urgent, or are for psychosocial needs that could not be effectively treated in an ER environment. MedStar trained their paramedics on concepts such as motivational interviewing techniques, and about resources int the community to help patients better manage their health. Since the implementation of this program they have seen a significant decline in ambulance and ER use and thus seen a decline in charges and costs, with 2016 Total Expenditure Savings of $12 million.