June 10, 2019

Around the nation: How Kaiser Permanente found housing for 250 homeless people in Oakland

Daily Briefing

    The achievement is part of the company's initiative to find housing for the 515 homeless people in Oakland who are over age 50 and have at least one chronic disease, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from California, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

    • California: Kaiser Permanente has provided housing to over 250 formerly homeless people in Oakland. Kaiser in 2018 started an initiative to identify and find housing for homeless Oakland residents over the age of 50 who have at least one chronic disease. The company, with the help of the city of Oakland and various community organizations, identified and tracked 515 people who met that description and, in two months, found housing and social support services for almost 50% of them. "Housing and health are just so connected," said Bechara Choucair, chief community health officer at Kaiser. "We know that when people get housed, their health gets better" (Norman, San Francisco Business Times, 6/6).
    • Maryland: A group of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients on Wednesday will protest outside FDA headquarters and present a list of ALS therapies they want FDA to approve quickly. The informal group, mostly connected through Facebook, said they plan to employ a "no excuses" approach to the protest, inspired in part by how AIDS activists protested FDA's slow efforts regarding that illness in the 1980s. Mike Henson, one of the protest organizers, said ALS patients are fed up with the lack of FDA approved treatments for the disease. "We … are just tired of no action being taken on our part," he said (Florko, STAT News, 6/7).
    • Pennsylvania: Following the closure of a park in the Philadelphia neighborhood of Point Breeze that was found to have high levels of lead in the soil, doctors say lead poisoning could be a major concern throughout the city. According to Kevin Osterhoudt, medical director of the Poison Control Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, industrial cities such as Philadelphia often have elevated levels of lead in paint and soil. "We do have lead in our soil that has accumulated over hundreds of years," he said. The Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology currently is studying lead concentrations throughout the region (Stahl, CBS Philly, 6/7).

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