For Immediate Release
Study Shows Poverello Medical Respite Program Saves Missoula Over $1 Million While Improving Health Outcomes
Jesse Jaeger, Director of Development & Advocacy
Missoula, MT – The Poverello Center has released the results of a two-year-long study that shows that their Medical Respite Program is increasing the health outcomes of patients in the program while dramatically decreasing the costs those patients have on Missoula’s medical system. The Poverello Center’s Medical Respite Program provides space for people who are experiencing homelessness and who are recovering from an acute illness or injury to recover from that injury.
The study showed that 83% of patients in the Medical Respite Program showed improved health. In addition, the study found that the Medical Respite Program has prevented an estimated 220 non-medically necessary nights of stay in local hospitals in 2019, saving Missoula’s medical system approximately $361,800 in just one year. Since the program was founded in 2015, we estimate it has prevented 714 non-medically necessary nights of stay, saving Missoula $1.17 million.
“Before the Medical Respite Program, people who were experiencing homelessness would often be stuck in the hospital because they had nowhere safe to heal,” says Quinn Mawhinney, the Medical Respite Care Coordinator at the Poverello Center. “With the Medical Respite Program, they have a safe place to stay and access to healthy meals. I am able to connect them to a primary care provider, help them access their medication, and refer them to permanent housing.”
The Medical Respite Program started in 2015 when the Poverello Center opened its new facility on West Broadway. Providence St. Patrick Hospital, along with the Montana Healthcare Foundation, provided the initial funding to get the program started. With the generous support of the Montana Healthcare Foundation, the Poverello Center contracted evaluation professionals Cindy Leary and Amy Leary to conduct a comprehensive program assessment of the Medical Respite Program.
“We have been honored and humbled during this assessment project to work with such a wonderful team doing incredible work for our community. Through extensive data analysis and collaboration with St. Patrick’s Hospital, the Poverello Center, and many other medical providers, we have been able to clearly show that there is a major need for the Medical Respite Program on many fronts,” Amy Leary said.
Cindy Leary added that “in addition to the large cost-benefit we found, we also found strong evidence that the Medical Respite Program promotes recovery and comfort for patients being served and helps to create a strong sense of community & support within the Poverello Center network. We believe in this program and are excited to support this essential service to our community.”
Providence St. Patrick Hospital, the Montana Healthcare Foundation, and Foundation for Community Health have all been past funders of the Medical Respite Program. In January, the PacificSource Foundation announced a two-year, $30,000-a-year grant to support the program and on Wednesday, March 11th, the Poverello Center will hold its Second Annual Leadership Breakfast, sponsored by First Interstate Bank and Providence St. Patrick Hospital, which will also benefit the Medical Respite Program.