Salem homeless: Caregivers test ways to help hospital's most frequent users

by Connor Radnovich, Salem Statesman Journal

Most homeless people living in Salem find themselves at the hospital sooner or later.

Salem Health staff have seen patients make 100 visits in a year. Others return multiple times in a single day.

Last year, 1,400 people on Willamette Valley Community Health insurance visited an emergency room five times or more. About half identified as homeless or housing insecure, which can exacerbate existing physical and mental health conditions or cause new ones.

Targeting repeat patients, the coordinated care organization gave Salem Health a $402,000 grant, which the hospital matched, for comprehensive case management follow-up. A nurse and two social workers were selected and, in February, the Salem Hospital Intensive Care Management trial program was born.

Clients are in the program for 60 to 90 days, though some are followed for longer based on need. At any time, a care manager handles about 20 cases.

Read the full Statesman Journal article here.

Pictured: Marissa Brandt (left) laughs with her caseworker Angela Sutton during Brandt's baby shower at Wes Bennett Park.

Photo: CONNOR RADNOVICH / Statesman Journal