What is the Average Daily Cost of Medical Care for Homeless Individuals in Honolulu?

Hawaii Pacific Health, the parent company of Kapiolani Women's Medical Center & Children, Pali Momi Medical Center, Straub Clinic Hospital & Wilcox Medical Center on Kauai, reported a 20% increase in the high-risk population in the past year, many of whom are homeless. These individuals tend to stay in the hospital for longer than two days due to the lack of adequate post-acute care centers. The Queen's Medical Center on Punchbowl Street in Honolulu is a popular destination for homeless people with multiple medical conditions that have worsened and require high-level care. A study conducted in Portland, Maine, revealed that providing permanent supportive housing instead of caring for people while they remain homeless significantly reduces costs.

77% of homeless people interviewed had health insurance, 39% had dental insurance, and 66% had a regular clinic or provider. Hawaii has also implemented interventions such as volunteer health clinics located in homeless shelters that provide job training and social services. The limitations of this study include convenience sampling which could lead to an oversampling of homeless people who were already receiving some type of assistance. The New England Journal of Medicine published a report that showed homeless people spent an average of four more days per hospital visit than comparable homeless people.

This resulted in a 57% reduction in the cost of mental health services over a six-month period and a 79% decrease in the cost of psychiatric hospitalization. Social workers can then step in to make referrals and develop resources once finances and health coverage are taken care of. A survey tool developed by the research team was used to interview 205 adults at homeless shelters, food distribution events, and other common homeless gathering places on O'ahu. This result may indicate an increase in the number of homeless people among Micronesians or an immigration of Micronesians who have not found housing yet.

The goal is to connect patients with great needs and high costs to community services that ensure they receive the right care in the right place.