Programs Seek Out Homeless for Health Care Services
Programs that dispatch physicians to the streets to treat homeless people are gaining popularity in Santa Monica and Los Angeles following reported success of programs in Pittsburgh and Boston, the Los Angeles Times reports.
One such program, Venice Family Clinic-OPCC, opened in January and receives federal funding. Nationwide, such initiatives, called street medicine programs, serve about 650,000 homeless people annually, according to the National Health Care for the Homeless Council.
Physicians who are members of the Santa Monica street medicine team travel throughout the city with backpacks containing ibuprofen, asthma inhalers, ointments, multivitamins, a thermometer, a blood pressure cuff and disposable gloves.
One of the goals of the program is to encourage homeless patients in need of further medical attention to visit the Venice Family Clinic. At the clinic, physicians hope that patients will be willing to take advantage of other services such as rehab and counseling (Groves, Los Angeles Times, 4/3).