RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif., Feb. 16, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — A new peer-reviewed report by the nonprofit RAND Corporation examines how six months of enrollment in Inland Empire Health Plan’s (IEHP) Housing Initiative impacts service utilization, health outcomes, and costs for a cohort of 162 members.

Recognizing that health and housing are closely intertwined, IEHP’s Housing Initiative, first launched in 2018, provides permanent supportive housing (PSH), case management, and rent support for health plan members who are experiencing homelessness, chronic health conditions, and frequent usage of health services.

While the latest report suggests a decrease in the use of inpatient and emergency care services and decreases in cost, it also indicates that enrolled participants often require more intensive care and case management to stabilize their medical and behavioral health conditions during the “transition period” between homelessness and finding permanent housing.  

The report indicates that, once enrolled in the program, care costs decreased from an average of $5,264 in the transition period to $2,876 (over 45%), suggesting that placement in PSH may be associated with reductions in service utilization and costs.

A previous RAND study on the Housing Initiative marked IEHP’s success in identifying some of the health plan’s most vulnerable unhoused members. On average, the first cohort of participants enrolled had 17 chronic and acute health conditions, generating a median health care expense of $70,447 per patient per year—nearly 20 times the average cost for an IEHP member.

“Identifying and supporting these members by enrolling them into our Housing Initiative Program is critical,” said Dr. Karen Hansberger, IEHP chief medical officer. “Due to their complex medical conditions and living situations, we know time is of the essence, and we need to work quickly and consistently to ensure these members have a chance to enjoy optimal care and vibrant health.”

The RAND team believes a longer-term evaluation will help determine the stability of care utilization, health outcomes and costs associated to PSH, and will publish results in the future.

To support increasing interest in these programs at the state and federal levels, results from this on-going study will be added to the body of scientific literature on housing programs administered by health care organizations.

“We are thrilled by the promising findings illustrated in these reports,” said Jarrod McNaughton, IEHP chief executive officer. “We look forward to continuing to track the impact of this program at one year and beyond to not only support our most vulnerable members, but to encourage continued interest and adoption of programs like our Housing Initiative.”

About IEHP
IEHP, Inland Empire Health Plan, is one of the top 10 largest Medicaid health plans and the largest not-for-profit Medicare-Medicaid plan in the country. With a network of more than 6,400 Providers and more than 2,000 employees, IEHP serves more than 1.2 million residents in Riverside and San Bernardino counties who are enrolled in Medicaid or Cal MediConnect Plan (Medicare-Medicaid Plan). Through a dynamic partnership with Providers and Community, award-winning service and innovative products, IEHP is fully committed to advocating for our Members and providing them with quality, accessible and wellness-based health care services. For more information, visit iehp.org.

SOURCE Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP)

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