Utne Blogs > Science and Technology

Hospitals Save Money By Reaching Out to Homeless

Homeless with bike

Hospitals are always looking for ways to save money. Here's one that might surprise you: hospitals that reach out to help homeless people before they pass through emergency room doors can save hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. That's according to two studies, one in Chicago and the other in Seattle.

The Chicago study, according to Miller-McCune, focused on 600 chronically ill homeless people, with 200 of them receiving case management and housing:

The group included people living on the street from 30 days to 30 years, in many ways mirroring the 3.5 million Americans (and growing) who face homelessness at some point during the year.

Researchers also selected those with chronic health conditions other than mental health or substance abuse, although participants with these and other conditions were not excluded.

"We wanted, in part, to show whether or not this model works, but we also wanted the literature to broaden and not portray the homeless as severely mentally ill or alcohol dependent or drug abusers because that's just a small portion of the homeless," Dr. Laura Sadowski said.

After 18 months, the group of 200 patients with housing — the intervention group — each made at least one trip to the hospital, but overall they reduced their hospitalizations on average by 2.7 days per person per year, which translates into hundreds of thousands of dollars, far more than the costs of providing the services.

Source: Miller-McCune 

Image by Franco Folini. Licensed under Creative Commons. 

gary ashcraft
6/9/2009 7:29:26 AM

This story reminds me of the parable of the blind men and the Elephant. Once again we see an example of how universal national health care is beneficial to yet another segment of our society. Until we muster the collective will to do the right thing we as a nation will continue to flail away with a broken system. The only true beneficiaries of the health care system we now have are Big Pharma and the Insurance Industry. Of the 25 most industrialized nations in the world only the U.S. and South Africa are privatized. Of the G-10 ( the ten largest industrial nations ) we spend between 17.5 & 19% of our GNP for health care. While the other 9 countries spend between 9 - 11% of thier GNP for the same ( or better ) care that we get.


marke.
6/8/2009 6:13:26 AM

That would be a great idea that even hospital learn to be resourceful in order to lessen the hospital expenses. Cost cutting without sacrificing the service.Appropriate spending is what we need during hard times. http://personalmoneystore.com/moneyblog/2009/06/03/murano-philadephia-sell-condos-fourth-price/