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Chicago Hospitals Could House Homeless Patients

Given the fact that many homeless patients end up costing the system a lot more than average, several Chicago hospitals are considering ways to house them.
January 24, 2018, 9am PST | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Many chronically homeless people also struggle with chronic illness. Permanent housing could reduce their costly dependence on the public medical safety net. Kristen Schorsch writes, "Research shows having a home reduces ER trips and hospitalizations as well as jail and detox time. A permanent address also boosts the rates that patients regularly see doctors who focus on prevention. Hospitals save money by not providing unnecessary care for little or no reimbursement."

Several Chicago facilities are on board. "The latest batch of hospitals finding housing for their chronically homeless patients—or planning to—include UChicago Medicine, Rush University Medical Center and Swedish Covenant Hospital."

Meanwhile, the University of Illinois Better Health Through Housing program has been piloting such an effort for several years. During 2015 and 2016, "The system spent about $250,000 to house 26 patients. The average monthly medical costs per person declined from about $5,900, to around $4,800 after they found housing."

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Published on Thursday, January 11, 2018 in Crain's Chicago Business
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