Cost-Effectiveness of a Homeless Care Transition Program: Durham Homeless Care Transitions.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

BACKGROUND Transitional care and medical respite programs provide assistance to people experiencing homelessness as they move from acute care into community settings. These programs can address issues that may fall outside the reach of traditional medical care yet have a profound impact on the health of vulnerable populations. This article focuses on the cost-effectiveness of the Durham Homeless Care Transitions (DHCT) program.METHOD This intervention study of the DHCT program uses a comparison group of people experiencing homelessness who were referred but did not participate. Encounter-level data, aggregated by quarterly segments of charges and reimbursements, were abstracted for all persons referred. Descriptive statistics were computed and models of charges and reimbursements were created using ordinary least squares (OLS) regression to compare utilization for 12 months pre- and post-referral.RESULTS Patients referred to the DHCT program (N = 485) were primarily non-Hispanic Black (62.5%), male (68.4%), uninsured (35.5%), and had an average of 5.3 chronic conditions and an average age of 50.0 years (SD = 11.3). There was variability among charges and reimbursement based on health care visit type but a negative association between treatment and charges, indicating that being part of the DHCT program led to lower charges post-referral.LIMITATIONS The study is limited by lack of access to line-item details of charges, reimbursement, and payer mix.CONCLUSION There is evidence of benefit to patients from transitional care and medical respite programs that does not substantially increase the overall societal cost of care; however, health systems commonly require evidence of cost savings and benefit as a return on investment.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Biederman, DJ; Harker, M; Schmid, L; Sloane, R; Langan, E; Taylor, DH

Published Date

  • November 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 83 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 454 - 460

PubMed ID

  • 36344100

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0029-2559

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.18043/ncm.83.6.454


  • eng