State Awards Grants for Medical Respite Program for People Experiencing Homelessness

BOSTON — The Healey-Driscoll administration awarded $5.2 million in grants for partnerships between healthcare agencies and community-based organizations that provide services to people experiencing homelessness.

This is part of a new medical respite pilot program that will provide individuals experiencing homelessness a safe space to recover after a hospital visit. Respite locations will offer 40 beds of temporary housing with clinical supports while program participants receive assistance in finding suitable long-term housing.

The awardees include Clinical and Support Options Inc., Duffy Health Center Inc., Lynn Community Health Center and Lifebridge Inc., Mental Health Assoc. Inc. and Trinity Healthcare for the Homeless, and South Middlesex Opportunity Council and UMass Memorial Medical Center.

The medical respite program aims to improve hospital discharge rates, reduce hospital lengths of stay, and decrease the total cost of care for patients experiencing homelessness. It will also strengthen the relationship between providers of homelessness services and healthcare agencies. Medical respite locations will serve individuals experiencing homelessness who meet specific criteria, such as being discharged from a hospital with no housing option, requiring a safe place to prepare for a medical procedure, and not needing hospital-level care or 24/7 support.

“Investing in partnerships between healthcare agencies and service providers is part of our commitment to delivering healthcare to residents where they are,” Gov. Maura Healey said. “It is important to provide people who are experiencing homelessness with a safe place to recover from hospital visits, receive access to key clinical supports, and help them achieve long-term housing stabilization.”

Studies have shown that medical respite programs significantly reduce healthcare costs and improve health outcomes by reducing hospital inpatient lengths of stay and readmissions. They have also proven instrumental in helping individuals achieve long-term housing stabilization. The Executive Office of Health and Human Services will evaluate the medical respite pilot program grantees with a focus on measuring the impact on healthcare costs and utilization, hospital capacity, and housing outcomes.

“By working together with healthcare agencies and providers, we are not just improving the flow within our emergency departments and hospitals; we are offering residents a safe place to recuperate,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kate Walsh said. “The launch of this medical respite pilot program grant shows our commitment to providing quality healthcare and also addressing health-related social needs.”