Help me find an article about housing first and emergency-room vists
August 3, 2022 8:41 PM   Subscribe

I think I read this article about 6-12 months ago, somewhere online. It was about some institution, maybe a hospital or insurance company. The institution was using supportive housing to help people who had been homeless. But the homeless people it was helping were those who most used the emergency room. Providing the supportive housing still saved money, compared to those people using the emergency room. This was in the USA. Can you help me find this article again?
posted by NotLost to Society & Culture (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Ooh, this sounds really familiar. Was it in the New Yorker or LA Times? I feel like the terms "super user" or "frequent flyer" might be in it?
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:56 PM on August 3

Response by poster: Yes, one of those two terms does sound right!
posted by NotLost at 8:58 PM on August 3

Best answer: Do you remember anything else about it? I think the proposition that permanent supportive housing leads to a reduction in ER visits/spending is pretty well-documented. This is research from Rand on a program in LA County from 2018: Rand link. This random article from 2017 is about hospitals piloting programs like this throughout the US: hospital article. That article specifically uses the term “Housing First” and is about targeting frequent hospital visitors.
posted by loulou718 at 8:59 PM on August 3 [1 favorite]

Best answer: “Superutilizers” might be another term to try!
posted by mochapickle at 9:08 PM on August 3

Response by poster: I think it might have been this article from Politico; it seems familiar now. BlahLaLa's mention of "frequent fliers" helped me find the article.

Like loulou718 says, apparently it is a growing trend of hospitals.

posted by NotLost at 9:10 PM on August 3

I seem to recall an article from The New Yorker but am not finding it.
posted by theora55 at 9:10 PM on August 3

Your description made me think of this New Yorker article from 2011, The Hot Spotters.
posted by bluloo at 10:29 PM on August 3

It's an older one (from 2016) but that was definitely the aim of the housing first program in San Francisco. It has had mixed success, the number of unsheltered people in SF is actually less than other cities, such as Sacramento. However, there are five individuals who have been transported by ambulance an average of once per day for five years, at a total cost of $4 million.
posted by wnissen at 10:19 AM on August 4

Related previously on metafilter: Better Health Through Housing
posted by Lirp at 9:42 PM on August 5

Something similar was reported on NPR and was based in Camden, NJ.
This was at least 5 years ago.
posted by mmf at 2:17 PM on August 6

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