First few Article Sentences
A recent news report citing a Las Vegas hospital's struggle to place homeless patients post discharge shows the issue is still significant for the health care industry. Public outcry highlighted a similar problem faced by hospitals in 2008. How do hospitals ensure homeless patients have access to the care and resources they need once they leave the acute-care setting?
According to the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, Inc., homeless patients are less likely to have coverage, and those who do have coverage face multiple barriers to accessing regular care. Consequently, many people experiencing homelessness have unmanaged, deteriorating health and are more likely than their housed counterparts to find themselves in emergency rooms because of a health crisis. It is estimated that patients are kept up to four extra days in the hospital due to insufficient availability of appropriate beds and lack of discharge options. These factors can add up to unnecessary care and higher costs for hospitals. A 2011 study by St. Michael's Hospital showed treating a homeless patient costs hospitals $2,500 more than the average patient.