In July 2014, CSH was awarded its first-ever National Cooperative Agreement grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). This three-year opportunity broadens the scope of CSH’s relationship with community health centers, including Federally Qualified Health Clinics (FQHCs), nationwide allowing CSH to provide training and technical assistance activities related to improving care for vulnerable frequent users of health care services. CSH will be partnering closely with the National Health Care for the Homeless Council and the National Association of Community Health Clinics, as well as other HRSA grantees, in this effort.
The goal of the training and technical assistance is to foster and expand health center coordination and collaboration with managed care, hospitals, state and local Medicaid agencies, behavioral health providers, and supportive housing in order to streamline service delivery and improve healthcare outcomes for extremely low-income individuals who frequently use emergency rooms, hospitals, and nursing homes, have housing instability, and lack a connection to primary and preventive care services.
“Frequent users” – also referred to as “high cost utilizers” or “super users” – are high need individuals who tend to over utilize emergency and crisis care, are often admitted to hospitals as inpatients, and frequently have unstable housing. Supportive housing has been shown to be an effective intervention for frequent users of health care services, in terms of reducing costs to the health system and improving human outcomes. CSH has been involved in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of several supportive housing pilots that target this frequent user population to place them in supportive housing, and has learned first-hand that connecting this high need population with community-based primary and behavioral health care – and housing– can reduce overall costs to the health system, increase patient engagement with CHCs, and create the potential to enhance the financial stability of community health centers.