As the economy continues to stumble, health care issues become even more urgent, especially in the underserved and fringe populations of the nation.
So, too, is the case in Chicago, according to the Chi-Town Daily News.
The web site reports that a health advocacy group recently presented findings of a study indicating that the chronically ill homeless are costing the city unnecessarily. It's an avoidable costs, the study says, if a local program designed to care for those individuals is more fully implimented.
The four-year study was published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association, and coordinated by the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, in conjunction with the Chicago Housing for Health Partnership, or CHHP.
The AMA journal points to the CHHP's program and its ability to reduce hospitalization.
Researchers looked at more than 400 chronically ill homeless Chicagoans, including 146 with HIV.
"The participants were randomly assigned to a group provided with housing and intensive follow-up care, or a group that received usual care in Chicago's network of shelters and programs," the Chi-Town Daily News article stated.
The study results show that "providing a stable outlet, such as housing, greatly reduced the flare-up of illnesses that force many of Chicago's homeless to the city's packed emergency rooms," Chi-Town Daily News reported.
By "aggressively offering the population coordinated and intensive housing, medical and support services," CHHP has found better health outcomes and lower long-term costs, as proposed in its original 2002 plan, which received a $1.3 million federal grant for implemetation in 2002.
The recently published study appears to indicate that the grant was money well spent.