Coordination across housing and healthcare systems ensures that people experiencing homelessness are properly assessed for healthcare needs and able to access appropriate and adequate healthcare and housing resources. Coordinated Entry (CE), the process through which people experiencing homelessness are prioritized for resources based on severity of need, offers practical opportunities for cross-system coordination between homeless response and healthcare. By plugging into a community’s CE process, healthcare providers can ensure that patients with housing needs connect to the homeless assistance system in the way most likely to get them properly assessed for and connected to available resources. Many providers, however, are unaware of the fundamentals of homelessness response systems and of the opportunities that CE offers to help build collaborations to better serve their patients.
The National Center for Complex Health and Social Needs recently published the Complex Care Startup Toolkit 2.0, which updates and adds to the original toolkit released in June 2021. The toolkit aims to support new and growing complex care programs by offering a reservoir of tools and materials from complex care teams and national organizations in the areas of program design, program operations, data & process improvement, team & leadership development, community mapping & collaboration, and communication & growth of success.
The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked innovation in models of healthcare delivery, including new and expanded use of mobile clinics. As an important part of an integrated care team, mobile clinics can address the complex health and social needs of patients by meeting patients where they are.
Across the country and in diverse care settings, providers have developed innovative, highly promising strategies for treating patients with complex health and social needs. Unfortunately, most healthcare systems and payment policies do not seamlessly support the necessary infrastructure and partnerships. Therefore, these strategies are difficult to sustain financially, despite evidence demonstrating cost savings and improved patient outcomes. Because each state has different policies regulating funding for this population, there is no single path to sustainability. Providers must be adaptable, able to navigate challenging funding environments, and highly collaborative.