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Senate Bill 1152: Healing Sacramento's Homeless

Monday, July 01, 2019

1 in 5 homeless people in Sacramento County are 55 and older according to the 2019 Point in Time Homeless Count.[1]  Over 5,000 people are homeless in Sacramento County & many require medical attention.[2]  Hospitals are struggling to provide for these patients who have nowhere to go after discharge, and the State of California has stepped into action.

July 1st, CA Senate Bill 1152 goes into effect, mandating that hospitals provide written discharge plans for homeless patients.  Hospitals in the region are accruing costs for taking care of homeless or at-risk patients, often “patient dumping” at adult social services or other resources in an effort to open up hospital beds.  But a lack of resources, homelessness, and chronic medical conditions often force people to return to hospitals for further medical treatment, resulting in a “revolving door” effect.

SB 1152 is part of a state & county-wide effort to eliminate homelessness among Californians[3].  Recently, Governor Gavin Newsom passed a state budget which fines cities if they are not actively working to eliminate homelessness[4].  Sacramento Mayor Steinberg has tasked Sacramento City Councilmembers with opening shelters and finding beds for homeless people residing in their districts[5].  With hospital administrators and case managers now part of the solution to eliminate homeless conditions, the burden of a solution is left on our region’s hospitals.

Healthcare professionals are some of the most overworked and stressed people in today’s workforce.  SB 1152 now requires written documentation that homeless patients have an address for where they will go after discharge, with a priority set for shelters and social service organizations.  Referrals for medical care follow-up, information and enrollment in healthcare insurance if eligible, prescription for medication, food & adequate clothing, and discharge transportation are all required and add more work for hospital case managers.  Hospital administrators are left crafting new procedures and protocols, while finding additional funding for programs.

A Senior Connection provides our clients with sustainable solutions for senior living & care options, including specialized Transitional Care Programs™ for at-risk seniors.  Our team is uniquely qualified to partner with Sacramento-area hospitals to slow the revolving door.  We have been successfully operating our Transitional Care™ program for several years and are able to save hospitals large amounts of funding through our partnership.  Our goal is to ensure every homeless or at-risk senior can find dignified housing placement with proper care.

 Author: Emily Grimmius

[2] Sacramento Steps Forward, California State University Sacramento, Homelessness in Sacramento County: Results from the 2019 Point-in-Time Count, June 2019, (14), Sacramento, CA.

[3] Hospital Patient Discharge Process: Homeless Patients, CA S.B. 1152 (2018). file:///C:/Users/Brittney%20Juniel/Downloads/20170SB1152_91.pdf

[4] Bollag, Sophia. “California Cities Face $600K Fines If They Break State Housing Law in Newsom’s Budget Deal.” Sacramento Bee, 27 June 2019.

[5] Vellinga, Mary Lynne, “Council signals support for Mayor's $40-million plan to address homelessness in Sacramento”, Mayor’s Office of Civic Engagement Sacramento, Feb.13 2019.


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