A Community Partnership to House and Care for Complex Patients with Unstable Housing.
Rising homelessness, especially among older adults, has significant ramifications for our health care system. People experiencing homelessness tend to experience worse health and poorer access to needed health care than people with stable housing. Commonwealth Care Alliance (CCA), a not-for-profit payer and provider that offers health plans to people dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, sought to address homelessness among its beneficiaries through a partnership with a local community-based housing organization, Hearth. This partnership led to many CCA members gaining access to permanent supportive housing in a setting in which CCA and Hearth could monitor and address their medical, social, and behavioral needs. It also provided an opportunity to examine health care utilization and cost trends associated with permanent supportive housing. Our experience demonstrates that a community-based partnership can effectively address homelessness among older adults with significant medical needs and may be associated with reduced health care expenditures.