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U.S. Health and Human Services Department Recognition for Harris Health Homeless Program

Harris Health System, the public healthcare provider in Harris County, Texas, has received a silver badge award from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), a division of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department in recognition of its Healthcare for the Homeless Program.

The award in the ‘Health Center Quality Leader’ category follows national recognition across three other categories from the agency in 2022; namely, ‘Advancing Health Information Technology for Quality’; ‘COVID-19 Public Health Champion’; and ‘Patient Centered Medical Home’.

“The great care we provide our homeless patients from primary to specialty care is remarkable,” says Dr. Esmaeil Porsa, president and CEO, Harris Health. “These awards and recognitions are the result of the dedicated staff who work in mobile units and through our homeless shelter partners to ensure all patients receive the best primary care and essential well-being checks that keep them healthy members in our community.”

Tracey Burdine, director, Healthcare for the Homeless Program, Harris Health, credits her team of providers, nurses and support staff for the achievements.

“Regardless of where a homeless individual may enter into our ‘circle of care,’ he or she will be able to connect to all the services that we provide within the homeless program and also within Harris Health,” she says. “You can enter the circle through a dental visit where a staff member can find out that a patient is not receiving entitled Social Security benefits. Staff can then say, ‘Let me connect you to one of our social workers.’ While the social worker visits with the patient, she may find out that the patient hasn’t had a physical in a while, so then the social worker makes a doctor’s appointment with the medical provider.”

Burdine says the homeless program offers robust services in medicine, dental, mental health, substance use disorder and vision with staff committed to connecting patients to “multiple services where we’re able to address both their healthcare and social needs.”

In 2021, Harris Health’s homeless program provided care to about 5,000 unique patients:

  • 87% Adults (18-64)

  • 74% Racial/ethnic minority

  • 15% Hispanic/Latino

  • 26% White

  • 59% Black/African American

Harris Health’s program is also helping patients manage their chronic diseases of hypertension, cardiovascular and diabetes. Additionally, the program offers preventive health screenings for cervical, breast and colorectal cancers, as well as, depression, HIV and obesity, and ways to quit smoking.

“To serve the homeless community and work in this department is a wonderful experience. It’s not just a job, it has to be your mission,” Burdine says. “That said, my goal in life is to actually work myself out of a job. I likely won’t see it in my lifetime, but I hope homelessness is eliminated forever.”

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awards are part of the agency’s Community Health Quality Recognition program to highlight notable quality improvements in areas of access, quality, health equity, health information technology and COVID-19 public health emergency response. According to HRSA, 11% of programs receive Health Center Quality Leader; 11% receive COVID-19 Public Health Champion; 54% receive Advancing HIT for Quality; and 79% receive Patient Centered Medical Home.

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  • Staff Reporter

    FMIndustry.com covers the latest news, trends and opinion from the facilities management (FM) and corporate real estate (CRE) sectors. The FM market is currently estimated to be worth USD 1 trillion annually and is projected to grow at a compounded annualised rate of approximately 5% between now and 2026.

CAMFIL HVAC Filtration Solutions

Staff Reporter

FMIndustry.com covers the latest news, trends and opinion from the facilities management (FM) and corporate real estate (CRE) sectors. The FM market is currently estimated to be worth USD 1 trillion annually and is projected to grow at a compounded annualised rate of approximately 5% between now and 2026.
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