Health care for homeless individuals : implications of the patient protection and Affordable Care Act
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This professional report explores the unique health needs of homeless individuals, how homeless individuals access medical and mental health services, and the impact that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) may have on medical services for homeless individuals. Homeless individuals are more likely to experience physical and mental health problems and earlier mortality rates than the general population. Common access points for homeless medical services include clinics, such as Community Health Centers, and emergency care centers, such as hospital emergency rooms. Homeless individuals often face barriers of access to medical services, including competing priorities to sustain life, strained relationships with medical providers, and an inability to pay for high health care costs. Through the expansion of Medicaid and the Community Health Center network, the ACA has the potential to increase access to medical services for homeless individuals. This report concludes by offering recommendations to ensure that homeless individuals benefit from health care reform through the ACA.