Hospitals have discovered that it's not only better for patients' health if they have somewhere to live, but it's also often cheaper for the hospital to provide housing than a long inpatient stay, USA Today reports with Kaiser Health News.
The big picture: Hospitals across the country are looking at ways to address homelessness, including building their own housing units.
- Recent policy changes have encouraged hospitals to use charity funding for housing.
- While current law bars hospitals from directly paying Medicaid enrollees' rent, the Trump administration is considering changing that, as Modern Healthcare has reported.
Details: Hospitals legally can't discharge patients if they have no safe place to go, which leads to patients staying in the hospital long after they've stopped needing care.
- That means the patient is occupying a hospital bed — while generating no income for the hospital — that could be used for other patients.
- For many hospitals, it's cheaper to provide a month of housing than to keep a patient for one night.
The bottom line: Investing in social determinants of health — like housing, nutrition and transportation — will undoubtedly save society money. It's more likely to happen if it also is profitable for the health care industry.