California housing advocacy organization says its work is proof that community supports will benefit the healthcare system – State of Reform

The CalAIMs Community supports will result in reduced hospital admissions and increased cost savings for Medi-Cal, according to data from the Illumination Foundation (IF).

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CalAIM community supports include several housing-related services, such as housing transition navigation services, housing depots, and short-term post-hospitalization housing. IF, a non-profit organization specializing in providing targeted health care and housing services for homeless adults and children, has been involved in homelessness prevention and housing solutions programs since its inception in 2008.

In a webinar hosted by the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), FI leaders highlighted how investing in these services for beneficiaries not only improves their health, but also reduces costs for the health care system. health.

One such leader, Pooja Bhalla, Executive Director of IF Health Care Services, stressed the importance of addressing the social determinants of beneficiaries’ health, especially when it comes to housing.

She referred to SI micro-community and emergency shelter programwhere the Foundation rents single-family homes with multiple bedrooms, and each bedroom houses a homeless person waiting to be connected to a housing voucher for permanent housing, which it says can often take months to complete. several years.

Bhalla added that IF short-term accommodation and recovery care programs include comprehensive holistic services such as case management and advice for long-term housing stability, as well as on-site primary care services.

“One of the things we wanted to address early on is how do we keep people out of the hospital system and the shelter system,” she said. “So not only are we addressing the social determinants of health through the healthcare system, we are now working very closely with our clients and getting them to receive timely care in a doctor’s office, which is right on the doorstep. where they sleep, in the respite medical center or at the shelter, without having to go to the emergency room or hospital. We have therapists, psychiatrists and primary care doctors who are now able to take care of them when they need it and where they need it.

She said CalAIM ECM and community supports will build on the programs that IF has previously worked on, and that based on data collected between July 2017 and July 2020, this attempt to address the social determinants of recipient health is proved successful.

The IF intervention resulted in a 22.2% drop in emergency room visits and a 26.3% drop in hospital admissions. In terms of overall cost to the Medi-Cal system, in a county with 12,150 members, IF saw a 30.7% drop in total cost of care for this population. Savings per member per month after a one-year post-response period were also significant, with $754.78 saved for crisis response services, $883.27 saved for medical defense services and $218.14 saved for housing case management services.

“Addressing the social determinants of health is not only the right thing to do, but actually saves the system thousands of dollars,” Bhalla said.

Currently, more than 10 of 14 community supports are being offered in 16 counties starting July 1. Riverside, Sacramento and San Diego counties will all offer 14 community supportsand 97% of all counties in California will have at least 6 community supports.

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