A Utah healthcare provider is expanding COVID-19 testing services for people experiencing homelessness. Intermountain Healthcare is working with county health departments to assess needs and coordinate care.
Helping the homeless community will include increased testing, coordinating with local and community partners, and helping to enhance the safety of the homeless population during the pandemic said Mikelle Moore, Intermountain Healthcare senior vice president and chief community health officer
"The homeless resource centers here in Salt Lake have had some outbreaks," Moore said. "So we had to go into the homeless resource centers and test all of the homeless in those resource centers just a couple of days ago, so that we could be sure we knew who had COVID-19 and isolate them appropriately."
Transitioning homeless individuals to community isolation and quarantine will help provide consistent care delivery and increase availability of care, said Moore.
Intermountain is among healthcare providers nationwide working to treat the homeless and limit the spread of COVID-19 by setting up mobile units in hotspot areas for COVID-19 testing and treatment.
"(We are) really making sure that we're assessing behavioral health need, substance use issues and other things when we're seeing someone for COVID-19 conditions because a lot of our homeless community also have behavioral health concerns based on the life that they're experiencing," Moore said. "So we're trying to be holistic in the way that we're thinking about things."
Fourteen days of medication for homeless patients after they are discharged from Intermountain hospitals is being provided to limits the number of times they need to visit a hospital or pharmacy and will better ensure Utah's homeless have the medications they need as they transition to community care.
Tests results for COVID-19 can take between 24-72 hours to be processed. Morris said Intermountain Healthcare is using community stewardship resources to provide free hospital stays and meals for non-housed patients while they wait for testing results.