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      A Daily Low-threshold Integration Center for the Homeless. Model of Social and Healthcare for Excluded Populations

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          Hospitalization costs associated with homelessness in New York City.

           Fritz Kühn,  S Salit,  J Vu (1998)
          Homelessness is believed to be a cause of health problems and high medical costs, but data supporting this association have been difficult to obtain. We compared lengths of stay and reasons for hospital admission among homeless and other low-income persons in New York City to estimate the hospitalization costs associated with homelessness. We obtained hospital-discharge data on 18,864 admissions of homeless adults to New York City's public general hospitals (excluding admissions for childbirth) and 383,986 nonmaternity admissions of other low-income adults to all general hospitals in New York City during 1992 and 1993. The differences in length of stay were adjusted for diagnosis-related group, principal diagnosis, selected coexisting illnesses, and demographic characteristics. Of the admissions of homeless people, 51.5 percent were for treatment of substance abuse or mental illness, as compared with 22.8 percent for the other low-income patients, and another 19.7 percent of the admissions of homeless people were for trauma, respiratory disorders, skin disorders, and infectious diseases (excluding the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome [AIDS]), many of which are potentially preventable medical conditions. For the homeless, 80.6 percent of the admissions involved either a principal or a secondary diagnosis of substance abuse or mental illness -- roughly twice the rates for the other patients. The homeless patients stayed 4.1 days, or 36 percent, longer per admission on average than the other patients, even after adjustments were made for differences in the rates of substance abuse and mental illness and other clinical and demographic characteristics. The costs of the additional days per discharge averaged $4,094 for psychiatric patients, $3,370 for patients with AIDS, and $2,414 for all types of patients. Homelessness is associated with substantial excess costs per hospital stay in New York City. Decisions to fund housing and supportive services for the homeless should take into account the potential of these services to reduce the high costs of hospitalization in this population.
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            Predictors of emergency room use by homeless adults in New York City: the influence of predisposing, enabling and need factors.

            Employing data from a 1987 shelter survey of 1260 homeless adults in New York City, multivariate models of emergency room (ER) use are developed which include an array of risk factors for visiting a hospital ER including health and mental health problems, victimization and injuries. The study's primary goal is to identify factors that predict ER use in this population. Multivariate logistic and linear regression models were tested separately for men and women predicting three outcomes: any use of the ER during the past 6 months, use of the ER for injuries vs all other reasons (given any ER use), and the number of ER visits (given any ER use). Lower alcohol dependence, health symptoms and injuries were strong predictors for both men and women; other significant predictors differed markedly by gender. Both models were highly significant and produced strikingly high risk profiles. A high prevalence of victimization and injuries underlies ER use among the homeless. Based upon the findings, we recommend expanded health and victim services as well as preventive measures. Until primary care becomes available for this population, we advise against policies that discourage ER use by the homeless.

              Author and article information

              Clinical Social Work and Health Intervention
              Journal of Clinical Social Work and Health Intervention
              March 31 2017
              March 31 2017
              : 8
              : 1
              : 19-22
              © 2017

              This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

              Psychology, Social & Behavioral Sciences


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