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HOUSING IS HEALTH CARE:
Community Partners to End Homelessness

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HOUSING IS HEALTH CARE:
Community Partners to End Homelessness

Coalition to End Homelessness
(Troy Mayor Patrick Madden, CARES CEO Nancy Chiarella, Albany County Executive Dan McCoy, CDPHP President and CEO Dr. John Bennett, New York State Senator Neil Breslin, Rensselaer County Executive Kathy Jimino, and New York State Assemblyman John McDonald)

December 4, 2017 – Albany, NY – As the cold weather moves into the Capital Region, it’s hard to imagine that some local community members don’t have a warm place to call home. But the fact of the matter remains, homelessness is a problem facing our community 365-days a year.

The Capital Region Coalition to End Homelessness is calling attention to the issue while highlighting a new and innovative approach to end homelessness – affordable health care.

Many people experiencing homelessness have complex health challenges that both contribute to, and are exacerbated by, homelessness. Accessible and affordable health care provides the type of health care services that most benefit this vulnerable population and allows them to build the foundation that will allow them obtain and retain stable housing.

“The homeless system cannot address this problem alone,” said chair of the Capital Region Coalition to End Homelessness, Nancy Chiarella. “We need other critical partners, like the health care system, to be involved in the solution. Today, we are celebrating the unique work being carried out by CDPHP, which is helping to connect our most vulnerable with the needed supports to ensure they remain stably housed,” added Chiarella.

CDPHP, which covers more than half of all Medicaid enrollees in the Capital Region, works with homeless and housing service providers, as well as other community-based organizations, to connect homeless and at-risk Medicaid members with care management resources.

“In many ways, housing itself can be considered a form of health care, and an investment in housing has been proven to lower overall health care costs,” said CDPHP president and CEO, Dr. John Bennett. “At CDPHP, we understand that a collaborative approach is needed to support residents who are not only dealing with medical or behavioral health issues, but also struggling with what is quite arguably the most critical social determinant of health – stable housing,” added Bennett.

The Center for Human Services Research, University at Albany, recently released its first evaluation report of the Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) Supportive Housing Initiative, an initiative which created supportive housing programs to provide vulnerable, high-cost Medicaid members with rental subsidies, new capital construction, and pilot projects to test new models of care.

The report demonstrated that investments in housing can have a profound impact on health care costs. Key findings from the first utilization and cost reports include:

  • 40 percent reduction in inpatient days
  • 26 percent reduction in emergency department visits
  • 44 percent reduction in patients with inpatient substance use rehab admissions
  • 27 percent reduction in patients with inpatient psychiatric admissions
  • 15 percent reduction in overall Medicaid health expenditures
  • Average savings of $23,000-$52,000 per person per year in the top decile of Medicaid enrollees

“When the housing community works with the health care community, not only is there cost savings, but we are more effectively delivering the types of services that are needed to help people improve and stabilize their lives. We all have a shared vision for our community—a community where everyone has a safe and stable foundation to pursue their goals and aspirations,” said Nancy Chiarella. For more information on the Capital Region Coalition to End Homelessness, please visit endinghomelessnessny.org.

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