The plan follows an October Homeless Health Summit
LOS ANGELES – Despite hundreds of millions of dollars spent addressing the homeless crisis in Los Angeles County, the number of people experiencing homelessness jumped by 12 percent from 2018 to 2019. Homelessness is closely connected to declines in physical and mental health, and that’s why more than 60 leaders in health care in Los Angeles County gathered in October for the first ever L.A. Homeless Health Summit.
The summit was co-sponsored by L.A. Care Health Plan, Health Net, the Hospital Association of Southern California (HASC), and the Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County (CCALAC). The participants included leaders from L.A. County government, hospitals, clinics, and health plans which all serve this vulnerable population. These safety net health care leaders recently released a healthcare action plan on how to address homelessness.
“I called these leaders together because we need a comprehensive approach to deal with this crisis, and the health care industry can play an important role,” said John Baackes, CEO of L.A. Care Health Plan. “There is no silver bullet, but with a record number of homeless individuals dying on the streets of L.A. County last year, we have to act.”
The summit report identified local, state, and federal policy priorities to purse in seven domains that would address the health and social needs of those experiencing and those at-risk of homelessness. They include:
- Transitions of care
- Delivery of patient-centered health care
- Behavioral healthcare access
- Enhanced housing navigation and supportive services
- Expanded supply of and access to housing resources
- Integrated data sharing and care coordination platforms
Together, the coalition plans to advocate, mobilize resources, and bring actionable solutions to policymakers.
“Homelessness is one of the most pressing and complex issues facing Los Angeles today and as a leader in the healthcare industry, we’re committed to finding impactful solutions to address this statewide crisis,” said Brian Ternan, CEO of Health Net. “Health Net is dedicated to changing the health of our communities’ one person at a time, and that includes one of the state’s most vulnerable populations. The summit was a critical first step in sharing best practices, and developing a collaborative plan that will make a positive difference for those facing homelessness.”
It’s well known that for many experiencing homelessness, the only health care they receive occurs in the emergency departments of hospitals.
“Hospitals are on the front lines of the homeless crisis, since emergency departments are often the only place they receive health care,” said George Greene, CEO of HASC. “HASC has always collaborated with partners who strive to improve the health of individuals and communities so we are thrilled to be part of a coordinated effort to bring all strategies together.”
Community clinics and health centers also provide comprehensive health and supportive services to people experiencing homelessness or those at-risk of becoming homeless.
“Each year, clinics in Los Angeles serve more than 40,000 individuals experiencing homelessness. Our providers struggle to help their patients when their living environment exacerbates their conditions,” said Louise McCarthy, President and CEO of CCALAC. “We can’t get you healthy if we can’t get you housed. This summit was an important step in the right direction.”
The health care system has unique strengths to contribute in addressing the homeless crisis. Coordinating those strengths could ultimately lead to better health outcomes for this population. Working together, we can have a great impact when it comes to engaging in upcoming policy opportunities, and ultimately, end the vexing problem of homelessness that that leaves so many Angelenos without a safe place to call home.
Download a copy of the Homeless Health Summit report.
About Health Net
At Health Net, LLC (Health Net) we believe every person deserves a safety net for their health, regardless of age, income, employment status or current state of health. Founded 40 years ago, we remain dedicated to transforming the health of our community, one person at a time. Today, Health Net’s 3,000 employees and 85,000 network providers serve more than three million Californians. That’s one in 13 residents throughout the State. We provide health plans for individuals, families, employers, people with Medicare and people with Medi-Cal — coverage for every stage of life. Health Net also offers access to substance abuse programs, behavioral health services, employee assistance programs and managed health care products related to prescription drugs. We offer these health plans and services through Health Net, LLC and its subsidiaries: Health Net of California, Inc., Health Net Life Insurance Company and Health Net Community Solutions, Inc. These entities are wholly owned subsidiaries of Centene Corporation (NYSE: CNC). For more information, visit HealthNet.com.
About Hospital Association of Southern California
The Hospital Association of Southern California (HASC), founded in 1923, is a not-for-profit 501(c)(6) regional trade association. HASC is dedicated to effectively advancing the interests of hospitals in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. We are comprised of over 180 member hospitals and 40 health systems, plus numerous related professional associations and associate members, all with a common goal: to improve the operating environment for hospitals and the health status of the communities they serve.
About Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County
THE COMMUNITY CLINIC ASSOCIATION OF LOS ANGELES COUNTY (CCALAC) is the largest regional association of community clinics and health centers in California. Founded in 1994, CCALAC has 65 members that operate over 350 clinic sites throughout LA County. CCALAC is dedicated to serving and representing the interests of its member clinics as providers of quality health care, including medical, dental and pharmacy services. For more information about CCALAC, visit www.ccalac.org or call (213) 201-6500.
About L.A. Care Health Plan
L.A. Care Health Plan serves nearly 2.2 million members in Los Angeles County, making it the largest publicly-operated health plan in the country. L.A. Care offers four health coverage plans including Medi-Cal, L.A. Care Covered™, L.A. Care Cal MediConnect Plan and the PASC-SEIU Homecare Workers Health Care Plan, all dedicated to being accountable and responsive to members. As a public entity, L.A. Care’s mission is to provide access to quality health care for L.A. County's low-income communities, and to support the safety net required to achieve that purpose. L.A. Care prioritizes quality, access and inclusion, elevating health care for all of L.A. County. For more information, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.