Increasing Access to Primary Care for Homeless New Yorkers
Advancing Primary Care
November 17, 2014
Every night, more than 50,000 people—including more than 22,000 children—are homeless in New York City.
Record-level increases in homelessness and poverty rates, coupled with increased demands for health care services, have caused a strain on safety-net providers in New York City. To increase the capacity to serve this vulnerable population, NYSHealth awarded Care for the Homeless (CFH) a grant to launch its mobile health clinic, which will offer primary care and mental health services to more than 4,000 new patients.
Under this grant, CFH targeted neighborhoods in New York City with poor health outcomes and high rates of emergency department use to connect with a homeless population that would not otherwise have access to or be likely to engage in a traditional care setting. The mobile clinic functioned as an alternative medical home by integrating medical and behavioral health care; strengthening referrals and connecting patients to other sources of care; and increasing Medicaid enrollment. The clinic offered primary care, mental health care, health screenings and tests, immunizations, medications, and referrals to health homes. Patients were also able to use CFH’s 340B Drug Pricing Program, which enabled them to obtain medications at little or no cost. To assess its impact, CFH analyzed electronic health record data to monitor clinic use, diagnoses and treatment plans, demographic data, and referrals to specialty care. CFH also conducted an annual patient satisfaction survey.