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Illinois system provides housing to reduce ER use

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The University of Illinois Hospital (UI-Hospital) and Health Sciences System have an initiative to provide furnished apartments and support services for homeless patients, in part to reduce their use of hospital emergency departments.

FierceHealthcare reports that before the program, which started in 2015,  “seven of the top 10 users of the organization’s ER were chronically homeless and accessed the system between 30 and 120 times a year. The organization’s $250,000 investment in the program has led to impressive results, reported AHA News. So far, the monthly hospital visits have declined by 35% and the annual cost of care for these patients dropped more than 40%.”

“In addition to housing, patients are assigned a case manager who coordinates their care and helps them manage money,” reported the news service.

“Peter Toepfer, associate vice president of housing for the Center for Housing and Health, which partners with the hospital, told AHA News that hospitals and health systems must view patients who are chronically homeless the same way they consider chronic illnesses. The best prescription, he said, is providing a homeless patient with permanent supportive housing.

“SBH Health System, based in New York City’s Bronx borough, is working on a similar initiative by partnering with a developer to build housing for low-income patients,” reported FierceHealthcare.

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