UPDATE, 10/24/12: Great news! Today, my friend is moving to a very nice nursing facility where he will be able to have rehabilitation for the injuries he sustained when he was shot. My understanding is that he can stay there for as long as he needs to. Thank you to all who prayed for him! God answers prayer!
After more than a decade of ministering to homeless people, I’m accustomed to difficult situations and heartbreaking stories, but this one stands out. Posted today on our StreetWatch homeless outreach team’s Facebook page [slightly edited for clarity]:
Please pray for a disabled homeless man on dialysis who’s in the hospital — he was a victim of a drive-by shooting — and has nowhere to go upon discharge. He also has multiple other serious health problems. He recently stayed at Greensboro Urban Ministry’s shelter, whose rules do not allow him to return for six months. (We have asked for an exemption because of his circumstances, but it was denied.) He was shot on the street, shortly after his time ended at the shelter.
He needs to be in Greensboro to continue his dialysis. Because of his health problems and safety needs, it would be very dangerous for him to try to sleep outside again. His multiple complicate the situation, and thus far, social workers have not been able to find a place for him to go when he leaves the hospital.
He is eligible for a housing voucher or supportive housing program, but we are unaware of any openings in these programs. He’s had a hard life and he’s in a hard situation. We believe that God makes a way where there’s no way, and I’ve been visiting him and praying that with and for him. Please pray that with us! Thank you, friends.
The 6th annual Triad Stand Down for Homeless Veterans was held on Friday, September 28, 2012 at Westover Church in Greensboro. The mission of the Stand Down is “to provide social services to honorably discharged veterans of the United States Armed Forces, including employment services, transitional housing, wound care, mental health and other services through coordination with other agencies in the delivery of the these services. A hand up not a hand out.” Services provided included: medical screenings, blood-borne pathogen screenings, minor wound care, dental screenings and basic dental care, assistance with VA claims, assessing eligibility for services, mental health screening, substance abuse services, standard haircuts, educational assistance, clothing supply, socks, winter clothing, hot meals throughout the event and more.
“The Social Security Administration (SSA) has proposed changes to the way decisions are made for awarding disability benefits based on a mental impairment. These changes will threaten the ability of people with serious mental illnesses to obtain benefits….
The changes appear in a regulation that would amend the “Medical Listings” -the standards that SSA uses to determine eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. While the proposed new Listings include some very good features, these are undermined by aprovision that could limit the number of people with mental illnesses who can qualify to only one or two percent of the nation’s population. This is far below even the most conservative estimate of the number whose mental health disability makes them unable to work (the criterion for eligibility for federal disability benefits) and who therefore need this monthly income.”
Via email, from Tim Clontz, Executive Vice President, Health Services, Moses Cone Health System. Posted with permission:
Tim Clontz, VP, Moses Cone (image source: mosescone.com)
Moses Cone Health System and High Point Regional Health System want to continue providing care to underserved adults and children in Guilford County and have been negotiating a contract to do so for two years.
Recognizing the tough economic environment we have suggested a 33% reduction ($500,000) in the county’s contribution for the care of indigent adults. We will continue caring for children with the same level of county funding. The contribution currently made by the county is less than what the county loss on these same clinics when the county ran them as a part of the Health Department over 13 years ago. Since being run by the health systems, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of children seen and specialty clinics added.
Moses Cone Health System alone provided $125.4 million (at our cost) of uncompensated care last fiscal year. This includes $3.5 million dollars, which MCHS and HPRHS have paid to subsidize the operations of Guilford Child Health and Guilford Adult Health.
Guilford County’s refusal to pay its share of the cost of caring for indigent adults only shifts the cost from all county taxpayers to those who have insurance in the form of higher medical bills.
Homeless people in Greensboro get their health care in the emergency rooms of our local hospitals and at the two HealthServe clinics, whose burgeoning patient loads have forced them to limit access to care. HealthServe is obviously more cost-effective than an ER visit, but Guilford County Commissioners plan a $1.6 million cut to health care that will affect HealthServe and other programs that serve the poor and homeless, further burdening an already overwhelmed system and hurting our community’s most vulnerable residents.
The Guilford Community Care Network added more doctors this year and is reaching out to specialists to help care for the countyâ€™s increasing number of uninsured.
But those efforts might be derailed if the county goes through with a planned $1.6 million cut to Guilford Adult Health, which would funnel down to Moses Coneâ€™s HealthServe and High Point Regionalâ€™s adult health clinic.
The cut could â€œimpact the care of several thousand patients,â€ said Dr. David Talbot, who works for Moses Cone Health System as medical director for HealthServe on South Eugene Street.
Most of HealthServeâ€™s patients â€” about 75 percent â€” have no insurance.
HealthServe makes up just one piece of the Guilford Community Care Network. There are programs for immigrants, dental health and the other county-funded program, Guilford Child Health. The network also connects programs that work with the homeless, such as the Salvation Armyâ€™s Center of Hope.
I understand the need to avoid a tax increase, and I know that many property tax payers are poor themselves (I suspect that the health care cut will affect some of them directly), but I wonder if there aren’t other places to save tax dollars, that would cause less harm than cutting health care services to our community’s poor and homeless?