Providing a continuum of care

Medical student assisting patient under guidence of physician
The Interim Care Program serves people who lack housing and who are well enough for hospital discharge, but who still need a safe, supportive space for recuperation.

Posted Jan. 16, 2013

Being hospitalized for a significant injury or illness can change one’s life. Homeless patients face particular challenges. Those who lack family and financial support must surmount not only immediate health-care circumstances, but inordinate uncertainties in managing their recovery and restoration of health.

Imagine a trauma patient living in an unsafe place after losing his job and home; a woman who is critically injured while escaping a violent relationship and has no home to which she can safely return; or a man left newly homeless but spending hundreds of dollars on medication. Individuals like these have received support for their recovery and their futures through the Interim Care Program (ICP), a respite-care program offered through a collaboration among UC Davis Health System, other regional health systems, the Salvation Army and The Effort, a federally qualified health-care center.

Founded in 2005 and located at the Salvation Army shelter’s facility in downtown Sacramento, the Interim Care Program serves people who lack housing and who are well enough for hospital discharge, but still need a safe, supportive space for recuperation. The program, which incorporates evidence-based best practices, is one of only a few of its kind in the nation.

Envisioning a healthy life for all

UC Davis Health System’s unique combination of academic excellence and social responsibility is advancing health for all in the Sacramento region. Read more about the health system’s community-benefit practices in the 2011-2012 Community Benefit Report.

“The Interim Care Program is a tremendous benefit for all involved,” said Patsy Bethards, manager of the Department of Clinical Case Management at UC Davis Medical Center. “Patients without a home at discharge appreciate the supportive environment where they can be off the street while recovering from their illnesses and injuries.”

Hospitals benefit, she added, by having a safe place to locate patients who need an environment for continued healing but not the specialized care of an acute-care facility. The community benefits from reducing the number of people with medical problems on the streets.

The Interim Care program allows a stay for up to six weeks and works with them to find housing. The program has made more than 800 placement referrals since it opened in 2005, with about 45 percent of the referrals from UC Davis Medical Center.

The comprehensive process helps decrease homelessness, hospital stays, emergency department visits and hospital readmissions which often occur when follow-up is inadequate.

A study of the Interim Care Program indicated that more than 80 percent of the program’s clients were able to move from the program into housing – whether transitional housing, shelter, board and care housing, or permanent supportive housing.

Hmong clinic © UC Regents
Despite cuts in local, state and federal support for safety-net care, UC Davis contributes more than half of the charity care to indigent patients in Sacramento County.

  • 2,000 — Number of people seeking services each year at the Sacramento CARES Clinic, with support from UC Davis, a key partner in the largest HIV/AIDS nonprofit organization in the region.
  • Comprehensive services include a women's clinic, on-site pharmacy, counseling, nutrition, education and state-of-the-art clinical trials.
  • 900,000 — Number of visits annually of UC Davis primary and specialty-care physicians
  • 21 — Number of languages in which UC Davis offers for patients and family members
  • 58,000 — Number of annual visits to Sacramento's Emergency Department
  • 500 — Number of online and streaming video health and education and training courses