Health and Housing Coalition Launches Medical Respite Program in Nebraska



Charles Drew Health Center, Inc. and Siena Francis House launched “Health and Dwelling,” a unique 24-month pilot medical respite program in the Greater Omaha-Council Bluffs area of Nebraska. This is the first medical respite program in Nebraska. As a result of a 2020 planning grant which provided funds to convene the Health and Housing Coalition, facilitated by The Wellbeing Partners, organizations across the metro came together to collaborate and identify the needs of the chronically homeless, medically complex population in our community.

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“The program will grant those experiencing homelessness better post-acute recovery care, and safe and secure short-term residential housing allowing for improved health, social and cost outcomes for all involved,” said Kenny McMorris, CEO of Charles Drew Health Center.

A Request for Proposal (RFP) was then released to launch medical respite. CHI Health, through its national foundation, awarded $500,000 to Siena Francis House and Charles Drew Health Center, Inc. to carry out the pilot program, with intentions to implement the program long-term for those experiencing homelessness with chronic health conditions.

The program provides a transition of care from an acute care facility to medical respite, serving as an alternative to readmission to hospitals for minor ailments that do not require hospitalization but do require monitored medical treatment.

Through the program, medical care will be provided by Charles Drew Health Center, Inc. and services will include post-acute care, behavioral health, dental care and pharmacy services. Siena Francis House will provide shelter, food, clothing and other personal needs, case management and support services. CyncHealth, the designated health information exchange for Nebraska and western Iowa, will provide the IT infrastructure to support the program.

Medical respite programs have proven to shorten hospital length stays, reduce hospital readmissions, improve health outcomes of participants and lower overall cost of healthcare. “We are excited to launch this pilot and improve the system of care for individuals who are experiencing homelessness and have needs that cannot be met in a traditional shelter setting,” said Michelle Bobier, Chief Program Officer at Siena Francis House.

“This program is an innovative way for community agencies to come together and support members of the community by providing people an opportunity to rest, recover, set and work on goals and receive health management education,” added Joy Doll, Vice President of Community Programs at CyncHealth. “Medical respite also provides benefits to hospitals as it provides a safe discharge opportunity.”

The program is working with local hospitals to coordinate a referral/application process utilizing the Unite Nebraska platform. Clinical admission requirements are: must be 19 years of age, willing to be admitted to service, willing to meet with medical and program staff, verified medically stable, independent in daily living activities, able to manage medications and oriented to time, place and ability to communicate.


About Charles Drew Health Center, Inc.

Charles Drew Health Center, Inc. is a Federally-Qualified health Center that provides quality, comprehensive and convenient primary health care. We are dedicated to providing access to health care in manner that acknowledges the dignity of the individual, the strength of the family and the supportive network of the community.

About Siena Francis House

Founded in 1975, Siena Francis House is Nebraska’s largest provider of services to individuals experiencing homelessness, located at 17th & Nicholas Streets in downtown Omaha.

While Siena Francis House provides emergency shelter, food and clothing to individuals experiencing homelessness, our ultimate goal is to end homelessness by helping each and every guest achieve housing out in the community. As part of this effort, Siena Francis House also provides residential addiction treatment through the Miracles Program and Permanent Supportive Housing for formerly homeless, disabled persons on our campus.

For more information, visit sienafrancis.org.

About the Health + Housing Coalition

Formed in 2020, the Health + Housing coalition seeks to Address the challenges medically complex homeless individuals in the Omaha Council Bluffs Metro face through the design of a continuum of services that identifies frequent users of healthcare systems and emergency shelters and connect them into the appropriate level of care.

Over 20 organizations participate in the quarterly meetings.

General information is available if you click here.

About CyncHealth

CyncHealth is the designated health information exchange (HIE) for Nebraska and western Iowa, connecting over 5 million lives and 1,135 facilities and counting.

These cross-connections are community-wide, consisting of hospitals, specialty hospitals, rural health clinics, specialty clinics, long-term post-acute care facilities, and other entities that have valuable data for monitoring the health of populations. CyncHealth participating clinicians can better care for patients by having instant access to comprehensive and longitudinal health history, including patient encounter-level reports, diagnostic history, allergies, immunizations, and laboratory results from participating facilities.

For more information, visit cynchealth.org.

About The Wellbeing Partners

The Wellbeing Partners mission is to build wellbeing into the way our communities and businesses grow through advocacy, collaboration, and education. Our membership is made up of corporations, community partners, and individuals who want to see a community where all people and places thrive.

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