Donna Biederman, DrPh, MN, RN, associate professor, was recently awarded $389,903 from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust for a period of three years to support the Durham Transitions Consult Clinic project.
The Durham Transitions Consult Clinic (DTCC)—a clinic without walls—serves up to 95 patients in Durham experiencing homelessness annually. DTCC builds upon the work of the Durham Homeless Care Transitions program that provides a nine-month case management program connecting homeless adults with health and social services. The DTCC will also add a payer neutral housing specialist—someone who ensures that payment for services can come from any insurance source, public or private—to secure and transition individuals into available housing options.
Research conducted in this project will assist Biederman and her team in learning successful ways to distribute resources to homeless patients and discover how existing triage techniques work to prioritize and ensure equity when working with the homeless and house insecure population. Additionally they will also gain understanding of how a payer neutral housing specialist impacts health and health care utilization, test the benefit of a field visit homeless patients in the Community Paramedic program by a primary care provider and learn how the addition of a transitions consult clinic benefits the hospital system and community.
“It’s my hope that when participants complete this program they will experience improved housing status, primary care connection, increased outpatient visits, decreased impatient days and increased perceived health status,” says Biederman.
Through the project, participants will be connected to other health related resources including mental health centers, substance abuse treatment, transportation services, community and family supports and will receive assistance with application for eligible benefits including food stamps and Medicaid.
This project wouldn’t be possible with help from community members including Sally Wilson, executive director of Project Access of Durham County; Julia Gamble, MPH, NP, Duke Outpatient Clinic; Durham Community Paramedic Program and Alliance Behavioral Health.