When 21-year-old Luis came to Boston Health Care for the Homeless (BHCHP), he was recovering from a return of his childhood cancer and living on the streets, a risky place for anyone with a compromised immune system. Despite a childhood marked by abuse and abandonment, he was determined to fulfill his dream to study and work in the field of medicine.
During his recuperation, Luis was a patient at BHCHP’s Barbara McInnis House, a medical respite care facility and one of the more than 80 settings where the nonprofit delivers care. There he was able to regain his strength and study several hours a day, eventually moving into a room of his own in downtown Boston. Every year, more than 11,000 patients like Luis receive care from BHCHP and every single one is guaranteed the same access to the highest quality healthcare, grounded in trusting relationships between them and their providers.
Since 1985, BHCHP has cared for Boston’s homeless men, women and children. With multidisciplinary teams comprising medical providers, nurses, case managers, and behavioral health clinicians, BHCHP reaches out to homeless patients wherever they may be—in shelters, church basements, alleys, and more recently at permanent supportive housing sites. These teams deliver care tailored to the unique challenges of homelessness, including the difficulty of managing chronic illnesses when priorities like finding a bed and food take precedence.
In addition to providing primary care and medical respite care, BHCHP also offers behavioral health, dental and preventive services. Each doctor, nurse practitioner, and physician assistant is fully credentialed at one or more academic teaching hospitals, allowing BHCHP to not only provide high quality care, but also to serve as catalysts within the larger health care system, making hospitals and community health centers more responsive to patients’ needs.
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