How Donors Help with Coordinated Care


Emma Springer is a social worker at St. Patrick’s Hospital in Missoula. She primarily works in the Cancer Center and inpatient units, however, part of her work directly collaborates with the Poverello Center’s Medical Respite Program.

The Medical Respite Program relies on referrals to get patients into the program. St. Patrick’s Hospital, Partnership Health Center, and Community Medical Center are the top three referrers to the program, totaling 256 referrals in 2021.

“The way that the referral process works on our end is first, determining if somebody is experiencing homelessness and then communicating with the care team as far as what their needs are going to be at discharge,” Emma said.

Since the inception of the Medical Respite Program in 2016, it has prevented more than 1,200 medically unnecessary days of stay in local hospitals which has saved our medical system well over $2 million.

“(Medical Respite is) a preventative model so instead of someone not getting the care they receive they would need more care at some point and instead you get them into a program where you get to get them the care that they need,” Emma said.

This program is a vital safety net for our most vulnerable neighbors and reduces the length of stay in our hospitals and readmissions.

“The Medical Respite Program is really important for our patients at St. Pat’s to get out of the hospital sooner and allow them to get on with their lives in a supportive environment,” Aaron Derry, a Physician Assistant at St. Patrick Hospital, said. “The program helps shorten lengths of stay for patients experiencing homelessness which allows the hospital resources to be more efficiently used without compromising the care for the patients who go to Medical Respite.”

Collaborations like the one the Poverello Center has with medical facilities around town helps make significant improvements in the lives of Missoula’s most vulnerable neighbors. It not only saves the medical system money, it also saves lives. Donors of the Pov make this possible. Thank you.