Advocates, Providers Seek Plan To Improve Care for Homeless
Health care providers and patient advocates in Southern California are seeking ways to improve health care for individuals who are homeless and reduce their hospital readmissions, the Los Angeles Times reports.
On Monday, hospital administrators, clinicians and patient advocates met in Los Angeles for a symposium -- which was organized by the law firm Public Counsel -- on ways to address the issue.
In Los Angeles County, homeless patients stay in hospitals an average of about four days longer than patients who are not homeless.
Patients who are homeless are among the most frequent users of hospital services in the region, often because they do not have access to regular medical care.
According to the county Department of Health Services, the region's annual cost for homeless inpatient care is $70 million.
Stakeholders Seek Ways To Address Issues
Hernan Vera -- president and CEO of Public Counsel -- said stakeholders seek to create a regional plan to cut unnecessary readmissions among patients who are homeless and reduce care costs.
Charles Oppenheim, a health care lawyer, said that hospitals should consider improving coordination with skilled nursing facilities and hiring staff to help patients comply with medication orders.
Advocates said that the best way to reduce admissions among individuals who are homeless is to provide recuperative beds for patients, where they can recover from hospital stays or surgeries.Yolanda Vera -- a senior deputy for L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas -- said that while the county only has 48 of such beds, it is planning to offer 120 more (Gorman, Los Angeles Times, 6/10). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.