Santa Clara County OKs Post-Hospital Program for Homeless Patients
On Tuesday, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors approved a plan for a special center for homeless patients to recuperate after being discharged from a hospital, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
A state law enacted last year requires hospitals to provide appropriate discharge plans for homeless patients. The action came after a series of cases of so-called patient "dumping" drew widespread attention.
A blue-ribbon commission chaired by county and San Jose leaders was formed to address the issue, and the "medical respite program" is the first initiative to come out of the commission.
Hospitals will be able to discharge homeless patients to special rooms at the Boccardo Reception Center shelter, where they can recuperate for an expected average stay of 14 days. EHC LifeBuilders runs the facility.
The shelter will not be licensed for medical care, but funds for the program will help pay for longer hours and more service at an adjacent Valley Medical Center clinic, which currently serves shelter residents three days per week.
The program also will offer a full-time clinical nurse to help screen incoming patients, as well as a part-time benefits counselor and part-time psychologist to help document disabilities and help residents apply for federal Supplemental Security Income.
The initiative is projected to cost about $650,000 annually, with federal grants for health care services for the homeless slated to cover most of the cost. Five local hospitals each will contribute $25,000 to the program (Lohse, San Jose Mercury News, 4/23).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.