“Why Hospitals Are Getting Into The Housing Business”

Why Hospitals Are Getting Into The Housing Business,” by Markian Hawryluk, Kaiser Health News

“Legally and morally, hospitals cannot discharge patients if they have no safe place to go. So patients who are homeless, frail or live alone, or have unstable housing, can occupy hospital beds for weeks or months — long after their acute medical problem is resolved. For hospitals, it means losing money because a patient lingering in a bed without medical problems doesn’t generate much, if any, income. Meanwhile, acutely ill patients may wait days in the ER to be moved to a floor because a hospital’s beds are full. … To address the problem, hospitals from Baltimore to St. Louis to Sacramento, Calif., are exploring ways to help patients find a home. With recent federal policy changes that encourage hospitals to allocate charity dollars for housing, many hospitals realize it’s cheaper to provide a month of housing than to keep patients for a single night. Hospital executives find the calculus works even if they have to build affordable housing units themselves. … The hospital will pay for the housing portion itself. That will still be far cheaper than what the hospital currently spends.”

LTC Comment (from Stephen A. Moses, President, Center for Long-Term Care Reform):

One thing leads to another.