A Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) program that provides healthcare, shelter and other services to homeless county residents referred by local hospitals for care after serious illness or injury has earned a national award for its quality and the dedication of its staff.
The National Health Care for the Homeless Council recognized the CCHS Public Health Division’s Health Care for the Homeless Program (HCH) with its 2015 Medical Respite Award for Excellence at its annual conference earlier this year. The nonprofit council supports more than 200 public health centers and programs in every state.
“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized by the Council,” said Sue Crosby, director of CCHS Public Health Clinic Services. “Our program began as two nurses using their own cars to find and care for patients living in camps along bike trails and under freeway overpasses.”
HCH and the CCHS Behavioral Health Division’s Homeless Program now provide integrated services at the Philip Dorn Respite Center in Concord, a 26-bed facility that opened in 2010 in response to a growing need for reliable post-hospital care for homeless adults in the county.
The center serves more than 300 patients each year who have no place to go after their release from the hospital but remain sick or medically vulnerable, making a return to the street even more dangerous.
In recent years, center services have expanded to include health screenings, vaccinations, medical treatment, psychiatric assessments, dental services, medication from an on-site pharmacy, case management and referrals to Medi-Cal.
Respite helps patients recover more quickly and safely, and connects them to critical services and resources they might otherwise never receive. It also reduces the likelihood of repeated, expensive visits to hospital emergency rooms by patients struggling to recuperate on their own.
The National Health Care for the Homeless Council is a network of more than 10,000 doctors, nurses, social workers, patients, and advocates working to provide comprehensive healthcare and secure housing for all.
To learn more about the organization or the award, visit nhchc.org.
To learn more about Contra Costa Health Care for the Homeless or the Philip Dorn Respite Center, visit cchealth.org/healthcare-for-homeless.