access necessary health care It’s just one of many challenges you face when you’re homeless, but there are options to ensure you get the care you need.
First, understand that you’re not alone: more than half a million people in the United States lack access to reliable housing. Whether you’re experiencing this condition for the first time or have experienced it before, figuring out where and how to get treatment can be overwhelming.
For many, the solution is to go to the local emergency room. Homeless patients are three times more likely to go to the emergency room than other Americans, and the number of homeless people using emergency rooms has increased by 80 percent over the past decade.
There are also community health centers. Medicaid and Medicare also played a role.
Your housing situation should not prevent you from getting primary care. No matter where you live, it’s important to have a primary care doctor so you can get vaccines, screening for cancer and other diseases, and disease management.
Beyond the emergency room
The emergency room isn’t the only place you can get care. The federal government funds each state’s homeless health care program, serving more than 1 million people each year.In addition to primary care and Mental Health treatment, these centers also provide testing and Vaccination Since the beginning of COVID-19 Pandemic.
“Health care at the homeless center is an important safety net for this population,” said Anna Bailey, J.D., senior policy analyst at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. “They specialize in serving the homeless and they really understand all the challenges. Many of them provide behavioral health care in addition to providing clinical services, and they often work closely with homeless providers in the community cooperate.”
Homeless health care centers receive special federal funding to treat people without housing. The centers are part of a larger network of clinics that includes community health centers and immigrant health centers, all of which operate in underserved communities.
These centers provide emergency medical care, chronic disease treatment, Mental Health care, and Preventive health care Use sliding rates. Those with incomes below the poverty line ($12,800 for individuals) do not have to pay anything for their care.
You can get from any organization that provides services to the homeless or by using this tool From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Some communities also have mobile medical centers that provide treatment for people living on the streets or in shelters.
“Many low-income and underserved populations feel that the emergency room is the only place they can go because they don’t have the resources to go elsewhere,” said Craig Kennedy, president and CEO of Medicaid Health. “The purpose of Medicaid is to say, ‘You have insurance. You may not have money in your pocket to pay for the doctor’s visit, but go to the doctor.'”
Medicaid facilities can provide services beyond many community health centers. Such services typically include surgery, skilled nursing, and some behavioral health treatments.
You don’t need a permanent address to get Medicaid policy. But you will need to purchase insurance through the state where you live. If you move to another state, you’ll need to get Medicaid from that state, although coverage is transferred from one state to another for short-term visits.
If you are homeless, community health centers can help you enroll in Medicaid.Or you can fill out the application form online with your health insurance market or your state’s Medicaid agency.Find contact information for the agency here.
Community clinics and public city hospitals provide primary care (Preventive health care) for the homeless and others without insurance. Social workers at these agencies can help you fill out Medicaid and/or Medicare applications.
“We really want to see people go to these facilities and be on Medicaid and have insurance that allows them to get regular care,” Kennedy said.
Bailey said many of the medical problems affecting homelessness mirror the broader problems caused by homelessness. In addition to higher prevalence, homeless people die on average 12 years earlier than Americans with adequate housing. When you don’t have housing, there are often crises and challenges that make managing chronic conditions more difficult every day.
“Many things can and should be done to meet the urgent health care needs of the homeless,” Bailey said, “but none of these can replace housing to ensure that people have a strategy to meet their basic needs, and Start prioritizing their health.”